Must Employer Issue Notice of Compensation Payable Even If He Doesn't Acknowledge Employee's Injury ?
In Waldameer Park, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Morrison), 819 A.2d 164 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003), the Court held that regardless of whether an employer acknowledged an injured, but not disabled, employee's injuries by paying his or her medical bills, the employer was still required to issue either an notice of compensation payable (NCP) or Notice of Compensation Denial (NCD) pursuant to Section 406.1(a) of the Act.
Therein, the claimant had sustained an injury to her hand but did not miss any time from work.
Her employer did not issue an NCP or NCD because she had not suffered any loss of wages and it had paid all of her medical bills.
The claimant eventually filed a claim petition which was granted, along with attorneys' fees for an unreasonable contest.
The employer argued that the attorneys' fees were erroneously granted because there was no evidence of wage loss or unpaid medical bills and because it had reason to challenge the extent of the claimant's work-related injuries.
It also argued that it did not have to issue an NCP for these same reasons.
The Court opined that because it was uncontroverted that the claimant suffered an injury, the proper course of action would have been for the employer to issue a "medical only" NCP. Waldameer Park, 819 A.2d 170. Then, the employer could challenge any future medical bills it thought were unreasonable or not causally related to the injury or any wage loss benefits it thought were unwarranted rather than forcing the claimant to file a claim petition prior to the expiration of the three-year statute of limitations for the purpose of preserving her right to any future benefits. Id.