Sec. 31-315. Modification of award or voluntary agreement. Any award of, or voluntary agreement concerning, compensation made under the provisions of this chapter or any transfer of liability for a claim to the Second Injury Fund under the provisions of section 31-349 shall be subject to modification in accordance with the procedure for original determinations, upon the request of either party or, in the case of a transfer under section 31-349, upon request of the custodian of the Second Injury Fund, whenever it appears to the compensation commissioner, after notice and hearing thereon, that the incapacity of an injured employee has increased, decreased or ceased, or that the measure of dependence on account of which the compensation is paid has changed, or that changed conditions of fact have arisen which necessitate a change of such agreement, award or transfer in order properly to carry out the spirit of this chapter. The commissioner shall also have the same power to open and modify an award as any court of the state has to open and modify a judgment of such court. The compensation commissioner shall retain jurisdiction over claims for compensation, awards and voluntary agreements, for any proper action thereon, during the whole compensation period applicable to the injury in question.
(1949 Rev., S. 7434; 1958 Rev., S. 31-166; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 38; P.A. 95-277, S. 11, 19.)
History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; P.A. 95-277 amended the section to include any transfer of liability for a claim to the Second Injury Fund and allowed for its modification upon request of the custodian of the fund, effective July 1, 1995.
Power of commissioner to modify award. 94 C. 625; 95 C. 298; 97 C. 83; Id., 335. Modification because disability has ceased may be retroactive to the date when it ceased. 108 C. 36. No bar that the controlling facts were known to claimant and might have been presented in the former hearing. 95 C. 356; 97 C. 76, 84. Aliter in case of long continued negligence of moving party. 100 C. 185. Power to open corresponds to that of a court during the term. 98 C. 741. But this is only as to the change of facts named in section. 100 C. 185; 103 C. 704. Employer may claim revision as well as employee. 97 C. 332. Death of employee after award does not entitle employer to retry the question of liability. 103 C. 705; 105 C. 419. Commissioner may open award because he misunderstood the facts. 106 C. 92. Can open only on the motion of person entitled to claim revision. 101 C. 113. Procedure on petition to open award. 94 C. 626; 106 C. 5. Having opened award, commissioner may try it de novo. 97 C. 84. May determine who shall receive payments after employee’s death. 100 C. 419. No right of appeal from denial of motion to reopen and rehear unless commissioner exceeds limits of legal discretion. 112 C. 333. As to power to reopen. 109 C. 601; 128 C. 1; Id., 284; Id., 574. Motion to reopen should follow terminology of statute. 113 C. 747; 126 C. 522. Reopening rests largely within discretion of commissioner. 119 C. 170; Id., 522. No power to reopen to correct mistake of law. 116 C. 1. When it is error in refusing to reopen. 112 C. 333; 113 C. 282. If question of law involved, decision subject to appeal. Id., 262. Cited. 110 C. 285; 111 C. 403; 113 C. 172; 114 C. 395; 116 C. 229; 120 C. 284. Voluntary agreement may be modified if fraud shown. 121 C. 149. Cited. 126 C. 494; 127 C. 297. Powers of commissioner under section. 129 C. 591. Cited. 130 C. 665; 132 C. 172. Power of commissioner to open award. 134 C. 269. Commissioner was justified in treating plaintiff’s motion as one for a new trial rather than for a modification of award. 136 C. 340. Denial of a motion to reopen award is proper subject of a separate appeal; motion to reopen on ground of mistake denied. Id., 361. Cited. 137 C. 187; Id., 487. Status of dependent in fact involves three factual elements: (1) Reliance on contributions of decedent for necessary living expenses, (2) a reasonable expectation that the contributions will continue, (3) an absence of sufficient means at hand for meeting these expenses; the first two are fixed at the time of injury and consequently the measure of dependence in section can change from that existing at the time of injury only if there is a subsequent change in the financial resources of claimant. 152 C. 481. Where commissioner found claimant was partial dependent at time of injury but subsequently received sufficient funds from other sources to supply her present necessities, commissioner correctly concluded that, although claimant was dependent in fact at the time of injury, her “measure of dependence” had changed before the time of the hearing and consequently defendants were relieved from paying compensation to her unless and until she showed a further change in circumstances; award to a dependent in fact as well as to a presumptive dependent is award of compensation and subject to modification. Id., 481, 482. Trial court was in error in admitting testimony of draftsman of agreement made under Sec. 31-296 which was clear and unambiguous on its face as only commissioner could open and modify award. 157 C. 538. Cited. 159 C. 302; 177 C. 107; 206 C. 242; 210 C. 423; 212 C. 441; 219 C. 28; 221 C. 905; 226 C. 569; 231 C. 469. Authority to modify otherwise final awards does not authorize modifications based on changes of law. 244 C. 1. A motion to open or modify was not required under section because commissioner and parties considered application for total incapacity benefits to be the equivalent of such a motion, commissioner applied the applicable standard, there was no showing of prejudice to defendants, and it would violate public policy to deny benefits because of a failure to frame application for total incapacity benefits as a motion to open or modify. 294 C. 564. Commissioner did not have authority to void agreement pursuant to section; discovery that police department was not organized under Sec. 7-274 was not a changed condition of fact but mistake of law not within scope of this section. 296 C. 352.
Cited. 26 CA 194; 28 CA 536; 37 CA 648; 45 CA 324. Commissioner lacked authority to modify award because statute does not authorize modifications based on a new interpretation of law and therefore lacked authority to recalculate plaintiff’s benefits. 55 CA 789. Commissioner did not have authority to grant Second Injury Fund equitable relief under section to open approved stipulation and schedule approval hearing because there was no evidence that fund was prevented from making a defense by fraud, accident, mistake, surprise or improper management of opposite party. 66 CA 332. Under section, commissioner has same power as a court to open and modify an award. 75 CA 591.