If you suffered an injury at work the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law does allow an employee to obtain an examination by a physician of his or her choice at the employer’s expense. If you have established that the employer is liable for your injury and the employer’s physician has given an opinion as the amount of permanent impairment you have suffered, if you believe that the impairment rating is too low you may apply for an examination by a physician of your choice and request reimbursement by the employer. Reasonable and necessary transportation costs associated with the independent medical exam are reimbursable. The doctor that you select to perform the independent medical examination may confer with the employer retained physicians.
Since the employer has the right to choose the doctor under Iowa Workers’ Compensation law, the employer may ask the employee to submit to several examinations. The employee, however, does not have the right to an examination by several doctors with regard to the injury. Because the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law only allows one independent medical exam, you should exercise great care in choosing the physician who is going to perform the examination. The physician you select should, if at all possible, be board certified, have experience, treating the type of injuries you suffered, have experience with cases that are part of the workers’ compensation system, and be willing to prepare reports and be involved in litigation.
If you wish to have a second medical opinion with regard to your injuries, you should contact the employer or insurance carrier and ask them if they will agree to pay for your examination. If the independent medical examination is resisted you do have the right to make an application to the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner’s office for approval of an independent medical examination.