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Workers Compensation News Winter 2016

February 18, 2016

PA Workers’ Compensation Cases of Note

By John W. Zatkos, Jr., Esq.

In Hargrove v. Lord & Taylor, LLC, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) upheld the Workers’ Compensation Judge’s (WCJ) decision to award benefits and a petition for penalties for an injured worker whose employer did not issue the appropriate documents in the allotted time frame.

Alexis Hargrove sustained injuries to her neck, upper back and shoulders on October 2, 2012. On November 21, 2012, she filed a Claim Petition alleging injury from November 2, 2012 onward, as well as a Penalty Petition alleging that her employer failed to issue Bureau documents despite having been given notice of the injury on the day it occurred.

The WCJ found that the injured worker had met her burden for both petitions. In addition, the WCJ found that the Employer had not issued any Bureau documents at all and therefore imposed a 50% penalty.

The Employer appealed, claiming that the period of time between the injury and the filing of the injured worker’s petition was not unreasonable or an excessive delay. The employer also claimed the injured worker suffered no economic harm as a result of the delay.

The WCAB upheld the WCJ’s findings regarding both the petition and the penalty. Regarding the petition, although the timeframe was not long between the injury and the injured worker’s filing, the employer is required to issue appropriate Bureau documents within 21 days. The WCAB also noted that a claimant does not need to suffer economic harm before penalties are imposed.

What does this mean? An employer has a duty to issue Bureau documents within 21 days of notice of an injury. This duty applies even if there is no wage loss or economic damage to the injured worker.

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