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Changes to Workers' Compensation: Medical Examinations

House File 518, signed into law by Governor Branstad, made significant changes to Iowa's workers' compensation law. These changes took effect on July 1, 2017 and will likely lead to increased costs of litigation. One of these changes concerns doctor examinations of injured employees.

Employees who suffer an injury may be evaluated by a physician retained by the employer to determine disability. If the employee believes this evaluation is too low they can seek a subsequent examination by a physician of their own choice, referred to as an independent medical examination.

Previously, employees would be reimbursed for this independent medical examination pursuant to Section 85.39. But with the addition of a new paragraph to Section 85.39, this is no longer always true. Now, employers are only required to pay for an independent medical examination when the injury is compensable (or determined to be work related). Additionally, reimbursement is based on the typical fees charged by doctors in the same area for the same type of examination.

This change, by design, will lead to more cases where injured workers must bear the cost of an independent medical examination. These examinations frequently cost in excess of $2,000.00. Changes like this to Iowa's workers' compensation laws make it even more crucial that injured workers seek out experienced workers' compensation attorneys.

If you have been injured while at work and have any questions regarding medical examinations, or any of the other workers' compensation laws, please don't hesitate to contact one of our firm's experienced workers' compensation attorneys. They can look at and evaluate your specific situation to ensure you are properly reimbursed and compensated for workplace injuries.

Jordan T. Glaser

Jacob J. Peters

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