Good faith payments in closed case are credited against a subsequent claim
- Posted By: Harvey Brown
- May 31, 2021
This is a Board Panel Decision
This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.
The applicant had an injury to his right knee in 2001. The case was settled by Stipulation with Request for Award. The applicant saw an Agreed Medical Examiner (AME) in 2009 who indicated the applicant had new and further disability.
The defendant made $23,000 in increased permanent disability payments based on this report. The applicant never reopened the case for new and further disability.
The applicant then filed a new claim for a cumulative trauma to the right knee through 2013. The same AME attributed permanent disability to the cumulative trauma.
The case went to trial. The defendant raised the issue of credit for overpayment of permanent disability on the 2001 case. They asserted they mistakenly believed the applicant would reopen that case and paid permanent disability.
The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) ruled that the defendant was not entitled to a credit for the overpayment. The defendant filed a petition for reconsideration.
The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board ruled that the defendant acted in good faith in advancing permanent disability payments for the 2001 injury. The defendant was given credit on the cumulative trauma because equity favors allowance of the credit. The WCJ was overturned.
Editor: Harvey Brown
Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown
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Newport Beach, Ca 92660