Notice of Denial Accepts Case in PA Workers’ Comp

In a previous blog posting, we discussed the case of Armstrong v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, decided by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in 2007. This case first allowed a PA workers’ compensation insurance carrier to use a Notice of Denial (NCD) to “accept” a workers’ comp case. As attorneys for injured workers in PA, we hoped this case would be viewed narrowly, if not reversed, by future Court decisions.

Unfortunately, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, in the case of Forbes Road CTC v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Consla), has now expanded this theory. No longer does a PA workers’ comp insurance carrier have to even issue a Temporary Notice of Compensation Payable (TNCP), then revoke the TNCP, to use an NCD to accept a case (as it was done in Armstrong). In Consla, the Court specifically stated that, “we hold an employer may properly issue an NCD to accept a claimed work injury for medical purposes only.”

As we felt after reading the Armstrong decision, we can only wonder why the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation would have gone to the trouble of developing a specific form called a “Medical Only Notice of Compensation Payable,” which was designed to be issued in this very type of case, if an NCD could simply be used. Oh, and we also wonder how a Court can decide that a Notice of DENIAL can be used to ACCEPT a case. Silly us, we thought the Pennsylvania Legislature was charged with making laws, leaving the Courts to simply interpret them.