Many workers’ compensation practitioners are familiar with the “two-dismissal rule” that a claim cannot be brought again after it has been voluntarily dismissed two times. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and they can even be applied to Permanent Total Disability cases, as noted by the First District Court of Appeals in the recent case of Moreno v. Palm Beach County School District. There, a claimant sought PTD benefits due to a back injury, and he voluntarily dismissed the PTD claim twice. Later, the claimant’s psychiatrist placed him at maximum medical improvement, and he sought PTD benefits again, this time based upon his back condition AND a psychiatric condition.
The First District ruled that the new PTD claim should be allowed to proceed on the basis that it stemmed from a new condition and contained new medical evidence. Along those lines, Carriers should remember that new medical evidence can always change the calculus on an otherwise resolved claim, even if it concerns PTD benefits.