Can a Review Petition Be Treated As a Claim Petition If An Employee Has Sustained Two Distinct Work-Related Injuries on Two Different Dates ?

In Schreffler v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Kocher Coal Co.), 567 Pa. 512, 567 Pa. 527, 788 A.2d 963 (2002), the claimant sustained two distinct work-related injuries on two different dates. The second of those injuries, to the claimant's back, was accepted by the employer as compensable. The first injury, a psychic injury stemming from a prior mining accident, had not been accepted as compensable. Nevertheless, the employer paid for the claimant's psychiatric expenses for more than a decade. When the employer ceased doing so, the claimant filed a review petition pursuant to Section 413(a) of the Act. Because the psychological injury had occurred prior to the back injury, and the parties agreed that the two injuries were unrelated, the Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) treated the review petition as a claim petition subject to Section 315 of the Act.