MERCK & CO., INC.
MERRICK B. VINCENT
THE VIRGINIA WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION
G. Bell, Jr. (TimberlakeSmith, on briefs), for appellant.
Stephen F. Forbes (Forbes & Broadwell, on brief), for
Present: Judges Humphreys, Huff and AtLee Argued at Norfolk,
A. HUFF, JUDGE
& Co., Inc. ("employer") appeals an award of
permanent total disability to Merrick B. Vincent
("claimant"). Employer contends the Virginia
Workers' Compensation Commission erred by concluding that
claimant's injury to his left arm and later compensable
consequence injury to his left knee occurred "in the
same accident" within the meaning of Code §
65.2-503(C). Because the compensable consequence doctrine
imputes the occurrence of new injuries naturally following
from the original injury to the original accident, the new
injury occurred "in the same accident" for the
purposes of Code § 65.2-503(C). This Court affirms.
evidence is largely undisputed. Nevertheless, "[o]n
appeal, [this Court] view[s] the evidence in the light most
favorable to the prevailing party before the
[C]ommission." King v. DTH Contract Servs.
Inc., 69 Va.App. 703, 708 (2019) (second, third, and
fourth alterations in original) (quoting Portsmouth Sch.
Bd. v. Harris, 58 Va.App. 556, 559 (2011)). So viewed,
the evidence is as follows:
2009, claimant injured his left arm and neck while working
for employer. The deputy commissioner awarded temporary total
disability, and the Commission affirmed. Employer did not
appeal that award.
underwent surgery to treat these injuries. In 2011, he became
dizzy and fell as a result of the pain medication he was
taking in the aftermath of the surgery, injuring his knee in
the fall. He sought compensation for the knee injury as a
compensable consequence of the original work-related injury.
The deputy commissioner awarded compensation, and employer
did not request review by the Commission.
2017, claimant requested total and permanent disability under
Code § 65.2-503(C), which provides for total and
permanent disability for the loss of two limbs "in the
same accident." The deputy commissioner awarded
compensation. Employer sought review, arguing that the knee
injury, although a compensable consequence of the original
injury, did not occur in the same accident as the original
injury, precluding an award under Code §
65.2-503(C). The full Commission unanimously affirmed,
and this appeal followed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
"application of the law to essential undisputed
fact" is "a question of law" this Court
reviews de novo. Hilton v. Martin, 275 Va.
176, 180 (2008). "Although this Court gives
'deference, on appeal, to the [C]ommission's
construction of the Workers' Compensation Act, [it is]
"not bound by the [C]ommission's legal
analysis."'" King v. DTH Contract Servs.
Inc., 69 Va.App. 703, ...