Voice mail too vague to satisfy injury-description requirement
Case name: Gentex Corp. and Gallagher Bassett Services v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, No. 214 C.D. 2009 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 06/04/09).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board's award of benefits to a worker who failed to give her employer adequate notice.
What it means:
In Pennsylvania, an employee is not required to give an exact diagnosis of a work-related injury but must give a reasonably precise description of the injury to put the employer on notice.
Summary: The worker alleged she suffered from work-related bilateral hand and wrist injuries and filed for benefits. The employer denied the allegations and argued that it was not properly notified that her conditions were work-related. The worker testified that she left a voice-mail message for her supervisor stating she had "work-related problems" after she received confirmation from her doctor. The employer contended that this statement was too vague to satisfy the notice requirement. The court agreed that the injury description was insufficient.
The court also noted that the worker could not give a precise date of when she left the voice mail. However, it rejected the employer's argument that the notice was untimely because there was no evidence of a delay between her doctor's confirmation and the phone call. The court reversed the award of benefits. It concluded that the worker did not provide the employer with adequate notice because she did not reasonably describe the body parts affected or give any rudimentary diagnosis about the nature of the injury.
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August 20, 2009
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