Case Law Update | Gahring v. WCAB (Pa. Cmwlth. November 24, 2015) | PA Work Injury

November 24, 2015

In 1997, Claimant sustained a work-related lower back injury that required surgery. In 2002, he entered into a Compromise and Release Agreement with Employer I that settled his claim for indemnity benefits for a work-related disc herniation at L3-4 and L4-5 and chronic lower back pain. This agreement confirmed Employer I’s liability for Claimant’s reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to his work-related back injury. In 2010, Claimant began working for Employer II as a line cook. In 2011, he began to experience increased back pain that culminated in surgery on November 17, 2012. On January 24, 2013, Claimant’s doctor released him to return to work with restrictions that Employer II could not accommodate, which resulted in the termination of his employment.  


Claimant argues that his statements to his supervisor, Carr, that his increased hours of work were causing his worsening back pain constituted sufficient notice of a work injury.  He contends that where, as here, the work injury resulted from a cumulative trauma, as opposed to a single accident, his statements were sufficient to put Employer II on notice that he may have a work-related injury. He also contends that the Board erred because Claimant had no duty to report the injury until he learned that it was sustained while working for Employer II.  He learned this on June 21, 2013, when Dr. Oliveri opined at his deposition that Claimant sustained an aggravation to his pre-existing back condition.

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