Raymour & Flanigan v. WCAB (Obeid), August 2021
In the “Old Days” (way back in the 1990s) there were two types of Notices an employer or insurance company could issue after a work injury: a Notice of Compensation Payable, or a Notice of Compensation Denial.
An acceptance or denial was (and still is) required to be issued within 21 days of a work-related injury. The Pennsylvania General Assembly then created several new types of Notices, supposedly to benefit the injured worker. A Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable, A Medical Notice of Compensation Payable, a Medical Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable, and a variety of “Amended” Notices were INTENDED to help injured workers, by encouraging insurance companies to pay benefits, even if only for medical treatment, while they continued to investigate the claim for up to 90 days after the injury. Since created, the court rules interpreting how and when these documents ‘convert’; how they can be “Stopped” or “Amended”; and which party has the burden of proving what facts – have become so confusing that even the Court has changed its mind about the rules.
In a decision issued in August 2021 [Raymour & Flanigan v. WCAB (Obeid)], the Commonwealth Court revisited the rules they established in a decision issued in 2016 [Church v. WCAB (Cook)]. Part of the 2016 decision was Affirmed, and another part ‘changed’ the rules stated in 2016. In short, a Notice that may ‘seem’ to accept your claim might not actually protect all of your rights. The correct type of petition to be filed to protect your rights has been changed. The forms originally intended to help the injured worker get benefits have become so confusing that EVERY injured worker needs an attorney to understand what the forms really mean; whether your rights are protected; and to ensure the correct Petition is filed; is filed timely; and the necessary facts have been proven.
Not just “any” attorney is likely to know all of these changing rules. The field of Workers’ Compensation law has become so complex that attorneys meeting strict requirements established by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and PA Bar Association may become a ‘CERTIFIED SPECIALIST’. The rules require the attorney to have sufficient years of practice dedicated to workers’ compensation claims, pass written testing, etc. Every work injury attorney at Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias are Certified Work Injury Specialists, and follow each court decision in this ever-changing area of law. To ensure your rights are protected, call us at 610-601-5399 or reach out to us online.