The Court of Appeals of Iowa Elaborates on What Evidence an Expert Medical Examiner May Rely Upon in Determining Causation

by | Jun 24, 2014

Recently, the Court of Appeals of Iowa elaborated in Cargill Meat Solutions Corp v Deleonregarding what evidence an expert may or more specifically may not have to rely on for that opinion to be credible and admissible. In Cargill Meat Solution Corp v DeLeon, a Claimant alleged he was injured in an industrial accident. The Claimant was subsequently examined by a neurologist. Essentially, the neurologist only physically evaluated the Claimant and did not review any prior or concurrent medical records. Despite the same, the expert opined that the Claimant had a work related accident and assigned significant restrictions.

Based on the same, the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commission determined the Claimant was permanently and totally disabled. The employer appealed and contended that the Commissioner’s findings of a work related injury was not supported by substantial evidence as the examiner was not provided with all prior medical treatment records which could have been relevant to his assessment. The opinion was met clear whether there was any particularly damning medical records which would have cast the Claimant’s injury in doubt. Dismissing the Appeal, the Court of Appeals of Iowa determined that the examiner’s opinion, even if based solely on a physical examination of a Claimant, could constitute substantial evidence sufficient to support an Award.

In light of the same, it would appear that an employee’s verbal history as to his alleged accident, combined with an examination by a qualified examiner, will be considered sufficient evidence to base an Award upon even if there may be relevant medical records which are not reviewed by the opinion examiner. While there is nothing particularly surprising about this decision, it is a good reminder that in litigated cases, examiners are subject to discovery depositions. For questions concerning Iowa Workers’ Compensation matters, please don’t hesitate to contact Paul Barta at 402-475-1075 or