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DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BAD FAITH EXIST IN MEDICAL CARE ISSUES?
Iowa courts have recognized the tort of bad faith in the workers’ compensation setting for many years. While the general cause of action is easily understood, the practical litigation of the tort including proof and defenses are complex and outside the scope of this outline. This outline does not examine what concepts or requirements exist in determining what is, or is not, bad faith as discussed in Bellville and its lineage of cases. Rather, this outline focuses upon the singular issue of whether the tort of bad faith for an insurer’s delay, or denial of medical care (not payment of medical bills) is available.
Medical benefits for injured workers are mostly provided for in Iowa Code § 85.27(4), which in part states “the employer is obliged to furnish reasonable services and supplies to treat an employee.” Like many issues in the law, the answer on whether bad faith for delay/denial of medical care exists is not fully established and has multiple subparts that require analysis.