Does the Term 'Disability' Refer to Mental and Physical Condition or Economic Condition ?
In Petrie v. Industrial Comm'n, 160 Ill. App. 3d 165, 513 N.E.2d 104, 111 Ill. Dec. 858 (1987), a worker sustained injuries to his right and middle fingers.
At arbitration, the claimant requested an award for impaired earning capacity under section 8(d)(1), but was awarded an amount for percentage of loss of man as a whole under section 8(d)(2) of the Act. Petrie, 160 Ill. App. 3d at 168, 513 N.E.2d at 106.
Subsequently, the claimant filed a petition under section 19(h) for review.
The Commission denied the section 19(h) petition finding that there had been no medical evidence of change in physical condition or evidence of change in circumstances. Petrie, 160 Ill. App. 3d at 168, 513 N.E.2d at 106.
The Court affirmed, and although we found the arbitrator's decision to be res judicata, the substantive issues presented by the claimant's appeal were addressed. Petrie, 160 Ill. App. 3d at 170, 513 N.E.2d at 108.
The substantive issue in Petrie, relevant to our discussion, was whether an increase in economic disability alone was a proper basis for modification of an award under section 19(h).
In Petrie, the claimant argued that he was entitled to a more accurate award due to an increase in his economic disability.
This court pointed out that the claimant was not able to cite to any authority that the term "disability" as used in section 19(h) included economic standing. Petrie, 160 Ill. App. 3d at 171, 513 N.E.2d at 108.
The Court did note, however, that in some jurisdictions a change in economic conditions can result in an alteration of an award even if the physical condition of an injured party had not changed. Petrie, 160 Ill. App. 3d at 171, 513 N.E.2d at 108, citing 3 A.
Larson, Workmen's Compensation, 81.31(e), at 15-554.30 (1983).
The Court found that in none of these jurisdictions had the term "disability" been interpreted as in section 19(h) of the Act. Petrie, 160 Ill. App. 3d at 171, 513 N.E.2d at 108.
The Court declined to include economic status in the interpretation of disability and noted that when the economic status of a claimant was referenced in the Act, the legislature used additional language or a different term than "disability." Petrie, 160 Ill. App. 3d at 171-72, 513 N.E.2d at 108-09.
The term "disability" referred to mental and physical condition and not economic status. Petrie, 160 Ill. App. 3d at 171, 513 N.E.2d at 108.