Suspicion of occupational disease isn't enough to trigger notice period
The Bullen Cos. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Hausmann), 23 PAWCLR 198 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2008).
What it means: The 120-day notice period established under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act is triggered only when an employee knows he is injured and that his injury is work-related. His suspicion, intuition or belief that an injury or condition might be work-related is insufficient to trigger the running of the notice period.
Summary: The employer manufactured cleaning products by mixing solvents with other products in large open tanks. The claimant inhaled fumes from the solvents and the solvents sometimes splashed onto his skin. About a year after he was laid off, the claimant suspected that his kidney condition was work-related. Almost two years later, he notified the employer that he sustained an occupational disease due to chemical exposure. The claimant first learned that his kidney problems were work-related about eight months later. The board granted his claim petition, finding that he gave timely notice of his injury and established a causal relationship between his disease and the chemicals he was exposed to at work. The court affirmed, finding that the claimant did not know his disease was work-related until several months after he gave notice to the employer. His suspicion that his condition was work-related did not trigger the notice requirement.
December 16, 2008
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