Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Vermont: Claimant’s Second Cervical Spine Claim Was Timely—Not Modification of Original Claim

October 13, 2017 (1 min read)

The Supreme Court of Vermont held that a workers' compensation award of PPD benefits, based on damage to the C4-6 levels of claimant's cervical spine, did not preclude a subsequent award of PPD benefits, more than six years later, for damage to the C3-4 levels of claimant's spine that arose, over time, from the same work injury. The Commissioner determined that since the claim also involved claimant’s cervical spine, it amounted to a request to modify the prior PPD award and was time-barred (under 21 V.S.A. § 668, an approved award may only be modified within six years of the date of the award). The high court concluded that the specific language of the initial PPD award did not purport to encompass injury to other levels of claimant's cervical spine beyond the C4-6 levels. Accordingly, claimant was not so much seeking to modify the prior PPD award but, rather, sought PPD benefits for physical damage not encompassed within the previous PPD award. Her claim was, therefore, timely. Vermont’s statute of limitations for filing a claim—six years from the accrual of the claim [see 21 V.S.A. § 660(a)—is one of the longest in the nation.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Diamond v. Burlington Free Press, 2017 VT 93, 2017 Vt. LEXIS 111 (Oct. 6, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 131.03.

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