WC Appellate Division Holds Burden to Show Changed Circumstances Is Not Met by Showing Only Changed Economic Circumstances When Comparative Medical Evidence Is Required

Maine Workers' Comp Alert

In Martin v. Scott Paper, WCB No. App. Div. 18-3 (January 26, 2018), the employee appealed from a decision denying his Petition for Restoration relative to an established 1977 left eye injury. The basis of a 1991 Decree was that, although the effects of the eye injury continued, they were not so severe as to limit the ability to work. Therefore, only proof that the eye condition had become more limiting would suffice as the sort of proof of the kind of change in circumstances justifying reinstatement of incapacity benefits. The employee argued that despite the absence of a medical change of circumstances, his economic circumstances had changed. The Appellate Division found the administrative law judge correctly applied the law and found the employee presented no comparative medical evidence that might alter the basis for the prior decision. When comparative medical evidence is required, the burden to show a change in circumstances is not met by showing only a change in economic circumstances.