Consequences of Not Issuing a Notice of Compensation Payable

In Waldameer Park, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Morrison), 819 A.2d 164 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003), the Court addressed whether the failure to issue a notice of compensation payable when an employer was aware of a work injury meant that a contest was unreasonable. Morrison worked at an amusement park and injured her hand and received stitches when she rescued a child who was stuck on a ride. Waldameer Park, Inc. (Waldameer) was aware of the injury because one of the owners took Morrison to the hospital where she received seventeen stitches. Morrison had continued problems with her arm and hand. Waldameer did not issue a notice of compensation payable. Morrison petitioned for benefits. The WCJ granted the petition and determined that Waldameer's contest was unreasonable because Waldameer had notice of the injury and its medical witness did not testify that the injury did not occur. The Board affirmed. Waldameer, 819 A.2d at 166-168. The Court affirmed. With respect to the issue of reasonable contest this Court determined: We believe it is reasonable to conclude that if Employer Waldameer would have followed the Act by issuing a notice of compensation payable acknowledging that Claimant Morrison did in fact suffer a right hand injury, it is quite possible that Claimant Morrison never would have needed to hire an attorney and incur attorney's fees, as her right to any future medical benefits would have been secure. . . . It is evident that Employer's Waldameer failure to follow the procedures set forth in the Act is the reason that Claimant Morrison was forced to hire and sic attorney and incur attorney's fees. For this reason, Employer's contest was unreasonable and it should be liable for payment of Claimant's Morrison attorney's fees. Waldameer, 819 A.2d at 171.