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Workers’ Compensation: Case Law Updates

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

Timing of Appeal

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act sets forth time deadlines for filing certain documents, and a party’s right to pursue an issue may be jeopardized if the deadline is not satisfied. The WC Act also states the manner and location of filing Petitions or Appeals. The Court has recently confirmed that the failure to file an appeal from an unfavorable Decision of a Workers’ Compensation Judge timely, and to the correct location will result in the appeal being Dismissed. Payne v. Americold Logistics LLC, 1086 C.D. 2021 (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct. Jun. 29, 2022) [citing Ludwikowski v. W.C.A.B, 910 A.2d 99 (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct. 2006)].

Issues Waived if not Raised Timely

Though stated in an Unemployment Compensation matter, the Court held that the failure to timely raise issues ‘at the earliest opportunity’ results in the issues being Waived, and may not be pursued. The same rule has been applied in workers’ compensation claims.  Tewell v. Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review, 691 C.D. 2021, 13 (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct. Jul. 8, 2022) [citing Dehus v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 545 A.2d 434, 436 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1988)]. [In WC claims, see DeMarco v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 522 A.2d 26 (Pa. 1987). Smith v. WCAB (Concept Planners & Designers), 670 A.2d 1146 (Pa. 1996)]

Termination of Employment for Cause

An injured worker’s right to workers’ compensation benefits may be Denied where the employer establishes the loss of earnings is not due to the work injury; but rather, is due to conduct of the employee resulting in the termination of their employment ‘for cause’. The standard in workers’ compensation claims is not the same standard used in Unemployment Compensation matters. Where the employer proves (based on the evidence found to be credible by the WC Judge) “that suitable work was available or would have been available but for circumstances which merit allocation of the consequences of the discharge to the claimant, such as claimant’s lack of good faith” the claimant may be denied wage loss benefits. Montano v. Advance Stores Co., 732 C.D. 2021, 13-14 (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct. Jun. 27, 2022) [citing Vista International Hotel v. W.C.A.B, 560 Pa. 12, 742 A.2d 649 (Pa. 1999)].