Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Can a 27 year old injury be deemed work related?

In the case of Lancaster General Hospital v. WCAB (Weber-Brown) the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decided that a claim on a twenty seven (27) year old eye injury was not beyond the three (3) year statute of limitations for work injuries.

In this case, the injured worker was exposed to a virus in his eye in approximately 1980. The claim was never formally accepted. Throughout the years, the Claimant continued to have periodic infections in the eye due to the virus he contracted at work.

In 2007, the Claimant suffered another one of the periodic infections. However, at this point, the infection could not be treated properly and the Claimant lost the use of the eye. The Claimant then filed a Petition for specific loss of the eye.

Despite the fact that it was twenty seven (27) years later, the Court said that the important date was not the exposure of the virus but rather the date of the “injury.” The Court indicated that in this particular case, the “injury” was the specific loss of the eye which occurred in 2007. As long as a Petition was filed within three (3) years of when the Claimant lost the use of the eye, then the claim would not be beyond the statute of limitations.

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