Clauson v. Dep't of Labor & Indus

In Clauson v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 130 Wn.2d 580, 581-82, 925 P.2d 624 (1996), the Court held that a worker may receive an award for a pending permanent partial disability claim in addition to a permanent total disability pension. In Clauson, a worker suffered two industrial injuries, one in 1974 and one in 1983. The first claim was closed in 1980 with a permanent partial disability award of 35 percent of the amputation value of the right leg. The injury from the second accident necessitated surgery. Mr. Clauson was classified as temporarily totally disabled and received time loss benefits until August 16, 1989, when he began receiving a full permanent total disability pension. In 1987, however, the first claim was reopened for surgical intervention. When he saw his doctor on August 23, 1989, Mr. Clauson's condition had stabilized and it was determined that he was now left with 60 percent permanent partial disability of the right leg. The Department closed the claim without awarding permanent partial disability benefits for the first injury because the Department had awarded Mr. Clauson a permanent total disability pension for the second injury. Clauson, 130 Wn.2d at 583. The Court held that Mr. Clauson should be awarded benefits for both claims because his earlier claim was open and pending with the Department and the worker should not be disadvantaged by the timing of the closure of claims. Id. at 582.