Friday, August 08, 2008

Commonwealth Court reaffirms standard for notice in occupational hearing loss claims

In Crompton Corporation v. WCAB (King) the Claimant filed a claim for occupationally induced hearing loss on April 2, 2004, and thus provided notice of the claim to the Employer. The Employer identified a new patient information sheet completed by the Claimant on May 7, 2002, on which the Claimant indicated to his physician he believed his hearing loss was work-related. The WCJ and Board nevertheless found the Claimant gave notice within 120 days of the date of injury.

The Court affirmed. The primary rule, as stated by the court in Socha v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Bell Atlantic PA), 725 A.2d 1276 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1999) (Socha I), aff'd, 566 Pa. 602, 783 A.2d 288 (2001) (plurality) (Socha II) is that the Claimant must be informed by a doctor that he has a compensable work related hearing loss. In this case, the report establishing this was dated February 27, 2004. Furthermore, the Claimant continued to work and presumably his exposure continued. Accordingly, his date of injury would be April 2, 2004, the date of filing, pursuant to Section 306(c)(8)(ix) of the Act.

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