Lockhart v. Industrial Comm'n

In Lockhart v. Industrial Comm'n, 15 Ariz. App. 209, 211, 487 P.2d 430, 432 (1971), the claimant's condition had worsened since his original Arizona compensation award. He underwent surgery for this condition while in California and received benefits pursuant to the California worker's compensation laws. After the claimant filed a petition to reopen the Arizona claim, however, the Commission denied the petition. The Court explained that the claim ant's only recourse for a new injury is to file a new-injury claim. 15 Ariz. App. at 211, 487 P.2d at 432. However, the Court noted that, when a new injury occurs in a foreign state, if that state's successive-injury doctrine apportions fault between original and subsequent employers, the rule that the claimant's sole remedy is to file a new claim may be detrimental to full compensation for the injury. Id. In light of this conclusion, the Court set aside the award on the following basis: It has long been the policy in Arizona that an injured workman is entitled to reopen his claim upon a showing that his condition has changed since the original award due to an aggravation of that original injury. ... To extend the new-claim-aggravation rule to injuries occurring in other jurisdictions, whose laws both substantive and procedural may be different from those of Arizona, would thwart this policy. Id.