Petition to Reopen Prior TTD Claim
"The determination of a claimant's rights is guided by the statutes in effect at the time the injury occurred." Snyder v. State ex rel. Wyoming Worker's Compensation Division, 957 P.2d 289, 293 (Wyo. 1998); see also Tenorio, 931 P.2d at 237.
Section 27-14-404 provided in part as follows:
(a) If after a compensable injury is sustained and as a result of the injury the employee is subject to temporary total disability as defined under W.S. 27-14-102(a)(xviii), the injured employee is entitled to receive a temporary total disability award for the period of temporary total disability as provided by W.S. 27-14-403(c).
(b) Any employee awarded benefits under W.S. 27-14-405 or 27-14-406 is not eligible for benefits under subsection (a) of this section unless he undergoes additional surgery not reasonably contemplated before the award for permanent disability and then only for a reasonable period of recuperation, confinement for medical care during the actual period of confinement or unless application is made and an award is granted under W.S. 27-14-605.
Section 27-14-605(a) (emphasis added) provided as follows:
(a) If a determination is made in favor of or on behalf of an employee for any benefits under this act, an application may be made to the division by any party within four (4) years from the date of the last payment for additional medical and disability benefits or for a modification of the amount of benefits on the ground of increase or decrease of incapacity due solely to the injury, or upon grounds of mistake or fraud.
In the Order Denying Benefits issued September 7, 1999, the hearing examiner construed this Court's holding in Casper Oil Company v. Evenson, 888 P.2d 221 (Wyo. 1995), as follows:
A petition under WYO. STAT. ANN. 27-14-605 is not necessary or relevant when an injured worker who has previously received TTD benefits again seeks those same benefits.
In Evenson, the employer argued that the employee was required to petition to reopen the prior TTD claim per 27-14-605(a) for a second and distinct compensable injury.
This Court held that, in the circumstance of a claimant incurring a second compensable injury, a subsequent TTD award under 27-14-404 was appropriate and the claimant was not required to reopen the original TTD case under 27-14-605(a).
This holding does not preclude an applicant from petitioning to reopen and modify his original TTD award under 27-14-605(a), and, under that statute, the requirement for additional surgery does not apply.