Friday, April 22, 2005

Supreme Court Decision in Jeanes Hospital

The Supreme Court issued its decision in Jeanes Hospital v. WCAB (Hass), the Commonwealth Court case that held a Review Petition to add to the description of injury is barred after the three-year statute of limitations has passed. The Court noted the Claimant was treating for one condition she was seeking to add two days after the work injury. Another condition was not diagnosed until after three years had passed. The Court held Section 413(a) permits the WCJ to modify an NCP whenever it is shown that disability increased.

The court looked only at whether the Claimant met her burden to show the conditions were related to the work injury. One purpose of a statute of repose is to bar a claim which an employer cannot investigate because the trail has grown cold. In these cases, as soon as the Claimant gets a diagnosis and treatment, the employer is informed by the bill and medical report. At that point the employer, who unilaterally decides what description of injury is on the Notice of Compensation Payable, decides whether to deny the new diagnosis.

This really is an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" case. These review issues were not a problem until the Commonwealth Court decision in Jeanes Hospital.

No comments: