Yes. Within 120 days of the work injury. The time for giving notice, however, does not begin to run until the employee knows, or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should know, of the existence of the injury and its possible relationship to his or her employment. Reasonable diligence is an objective standard (not subjective) per Sell. v. WCAB (LPN Eng’g), 771 A.2d 1246 (Pa. 2001).
The mere filing of a Claim Petition will serve as notice, but it has to be served on the Employer.
If the notice requirement is not met, there is no viable case. It is important for injured workers to know that being vague doesn’t help. For example, if you tell your employer that you have some work-related “problems”, this won’t suffice. You need a reasonably precise description of the injury. A good example of a specific communication is: “I hurt my low back lifting that heavy box”.
I have a pending case where notice is an issue. The Employer is contending that the employee failed to advise them that her back injury was caused by her work activities. The injured worker contends that she left three messages for the supervisor which went ignored. The issue will ultimately be decided by the Judge who has to determine which witness is more credible.
Communication is critical. If you were injured on the job, tell a supervisor immediately- and don’t simply state that your back hurts. Tell the supervisor that it hurts because of whatever work activity caused it. Be specific. Many injured workers are afraid to report a work-related injury because of a company’s culture which may have a chilling effect on workers- they fear retaliation or termination. However, an employer is not allowed to terminate an injured worker for reporting a work injury.
For more info about the Notice requirement under Pennsylvania Work Comp Law, call or email Michael W. Cardamone at 215-206-9068 or Michael@cardamonelaw.com