PA Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Injured Worker

An article on reported on a recent ruling by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court: an injured worker’s voicemail and other communications showed that she adequately notified her employer her injury, which entitles her to workers’ comp benefits.

The employee was responsible for inspecting helmets made for the U.S Air Force. Over the course of a 2 year period, she experienced swelling in her hands and was forced to leave work due to the pain. She notified her employer of her condition as was required, and she applied for short-term disability. She also indicated to the employer that she believed the injury was not work related. However, a specialist diagnosed her with carpal tunnel syndrome and concluded that her injuries were a result of her work. She notified her employer of the doctor’s diagnosis by leaving voicemails with the human resources department because she was not able to speak directly with anyone at the employer.

When her doctor released her back to work with restrictions, her employer said she they did not have a position that met her restrictions and she was terminated.

A few months later, she filed a workers’ comp claim and a workers’ comp judge found that she did suffer a work-related injury. He also ruled that her complaints of pain, her short-term disability claim, and her voicemail messages acted as sufficient notification to her employer of her injury. Although a workers’ compensation board agreed, a Commonwealth Court judge overturned the decision, saying she failed to sufficiently describe her injuries to her employer.

The case was taken to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, who reversed the lower court’s order and ruled that the employer was aware that the employee suffered a work-related injury. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that although her notice to the employer was not “letter perfect”, Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp law states that “a meritorious claim ought not, if possible, be defeated for technical reasons.”

Navigating the workers’ compensation system can be tricky. If you are injured on the job, a company may try to find a way out of paying you the compensation you deserve. But you don’t have to fight the battle on your own. Contact the workers’ comp attorneys at O’Connor Law for a free review of your case.

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