Iowa: “Lower Extremity” Is Not Same Thing as “Leg”; Award Made for Injury to the Body as a Whole

Iowa: “Lower Extremity” Is Not Same Thing as “Leg”; Award Made for Injury to the Body as a Whole

An Iowa appellate court affirmed a finding that an injured employee's deep vein thrombosis constituted an injury to the body as a whole and that the employee was entitled to an award of 60 percent industrial disability. The court said substantial evidence supported the commissioner's determination that the deep vein thrombosis was a spill-over injury affecting the body as a whole and that the employee’s recovery need not be limited to the scheduled injury for the lower extremity.  The employer contended the employee’s injuries were limited to the right leg.  The court admitted that all the medical evidence agreed that the effects of the injury had been confined to the “lower extremity.”  The scheduled injury provision in the Iowa statutes, however, spoke not of the “lower extremity,” but rather the “leg.”  Under the AMA Guides, the hips or pelvis could be considered part of the lower extremity.  Parsing the employee’s injuries pretty closely, the appellate court pointed out that the employee also had a filter installed outside the leg, to help prevent clots.  The court indicated the existence of the filter pointed to an injury not limited to the leg itself.  Agreeing that this was a “spill-over” case, the appellate court affirmed.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See Architectural Wall Systems v. Towers, 2014 Iowa App. LEXIS 714 (July 16, 2014)  [2014 Iowa App. LEXIS 714 (July 16, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 87.02 [87.02]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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