As we discussed in a previous blog entry, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania accepted review of the Cinram Manufacturing v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Hill) case. This case dealt with how one can change or amend a Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP) under the PA Workers’ Compensation Act. Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a decision, affirming the decision of the Commonwealth Court of PA.
The Supreme Court decided that there are two types of changes one can make to a NCP: The change is either a “corrective amendment” (meaning the diagnosis or injury was one present when the work injury took place) or it is a “subsequently-arising” or “consequential” condition (something which happened after the date of injury, such as depression from chronic pain, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), fibromyalgia, overuse syndrome, just for examples).
A Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) can order a change to the NCP in the “corrective amendment” situation, regardless of what type of litigation is pending. However, if the situation is one involving a subsequent or consequential condition, then the claimant must file a Petition to Review. This distinction drawn by the PA Supreme Court represents a change from what was believed to be existing law (Specifically, the cases of Jeanes Hospital v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Hess) and Commercial Credit Claims v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Lancaster), both previously decided by the Supreme Court of PA).
In either of these situations, if the claimant wishes to amend or change the Notice of Compensation Payable, the claimant has the burden of proof on the issue.