Court Affirms Order to Reimburse cost of Independent Medical Exam in Review-Reopening Petition

Posted on: September 27th, 2019

The Iowa Court of Appeals held that an employee is entitled to reimbursement of an independent medical exam under Iowa Code section 85.39 in a review-reopening petition. An employee suffered a workplace injury in 2013 and filed a petition seeking benefits. During that proceeding an IME was performed and the employee was placed at MMI but the parties stipulated that the issue of permanent disability was not yet ripe. The employee then filed a review-reopening petition seeking additional healing period and temporary disability benefits. The employee obtained an IME that was approved by the Worker’s Compensation Commission. That IME was reimbursed by the employer. That petition was later dismissed without prejudice. The employee underwent additional treatment and the employer requested and received an opinion from the rehabilitative doctor on MMI, restrictions, and a permanent impairment rating. The employee then refiled his review-reopening petition and sought an IME at the employer’s expense. The Employer resisted. The Commission granted the application for the IME and the District Court affirmed.

The Iowa Court of Appeals agreed. The Court found the review-reopening petition is to determine the employee’s permanent condition which was not ripe under the prior petition. The Court held that under Iowa Code section 85.39(2) the employer had obtained a new disability evaluation and therefore the employee was entitled to rebut that new evaluation in connection with the new proceeding.

Robert Ostwinkle v. Mathy Construction Company et al., 19-0341

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