Non-Medical Evidence In Workers' Compensation Commission

The determination of functional disability is not limited to impairment ratings established by medical evidence. Miller v. Lauridsen Foods, Inc., 525 N.W.2d 417, 421 (Iowa 1994). The workers' compensation commissioner must consider all evidence, both medical and non-medical, to determine the extent of an employee's disability. Terwilliger, 529 N.W.2d at 273. Expert medical testimony may be "buttressed by supportive lay testimony." Miller, 525 N.W.2d at 421. It is the duty of the commissioner to state the evidence she relied on and to detail the reasons for her conclusion. Terwilliger, 529 N.W.2d at 274. The commissioner's decision must be "sufficiently detailed to show the path he has taken through conflicting evidence," but the law does not require the commissioner to discuss each and every fact in the record and explain why or why not she has rejected it. Terwilliger, 529 N.W.2d at 274. An administrative agency cannot in its decision set out verbatim all testimony in a case. Pitzer v. Rowley Interstate, 507 N.W.2d 389, 393 (Iowa 1993). "Nor, when the agency specifically refers to some of the evidence, should the losing party be able, ipso facto, to urge successfully that the agency did not weigh all the other evidence." Id. In reviewing the industrial commissioner's findings of fact in workers' compensation proceedings, the question is not whether the evidence might support a different finding, but whether it supports the findings actually made. Kiesecker v. Webster City Custom Meats Inc., 528 N.W.2d 109, 110 (Iowa 1995). The mere fact we could draw inconsistent conclusions from the same evidence does not mean substantial evidence does not support the commissioner's determinations. Terwilliger, 529 N.W.2d at 271. The industrial commissioner weighs the evidence, and the court should broadly and liberally apply those findings in order to uphold, rather than defeat, the industrial commissioner's decision. St. Luke's Hosp., 604 N.W.2d at 649.