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March 11, 2011

Employer’s filing appropriate Workers’ Compensation claims forms defeats “statute of limitation” objection to payment employee’s claim

Employer’s filing appropriate Workers’ Compensation claims forms defeats “statute of limitation” objection to payment employee’s claim
Matter of Kwadzogah v New York City Health & Hosp. Corp, 2011 NY Slip Op 01389, Appellate Division, Third Department

An employer waives the limitations defense by making payments of compensation to a claimant in the form of wages, medical treatment or other compensable expenses that carry a "recognition or acknowledgment of liability under the Workers' Compensation Law"

In this case the Appellate Division found that Innocencia Kwadzogah had sustained a work-related injury on July 29, 2006, but did not lose any time from work at that time and therefore did not file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

In June 2008, however, Kwadzogah lost time from work as a result of the injury and filed a claim for benefits on July 30, 2008 — one day after the expiration of the limitations period of Workers' Compensation Law §28.

When her employer, the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation opposed the claim, alleging that it was time-barred, a Workers' Compensation Law Judge determined that the employer had waived the limitations defense by making payments of compensation to claimant with an acknowledgment of liability.

Intimately the Workers' Compensation Board affirmed and HHC appealed.

The Appellate Division found that substantial evidence existed in the record* to support the Board's determination that HHC made payments to Kwadzogah “with a recognition of liability and, thus, waived the statute of limitations defense.”

Further, said the court, HHC did not file a notice of controversy, however, which it was required to do within 25 days of the Board's mailing of the notice of indexing if it intended to contest the claim (see Workers' Compensation Law §25[2][b]).

Cited as substantial evidence to support the Board's determination that HHC had waived the statute of limitations defense by:

1. Making payments of compensation to Kwadzogah with an acknowledgment of liability:

2. Filing a C-2 form reporting the injury as a work-related injury, offeredKwadzogah medical treatment; and

3. Filed a C-669 form (notice of carrier's action on a claim for benefits) with the Board in which HHC reported that the "claim [was] not disputed."

In addition, said the Appellate Division, HHC filed a C-11 form (Employer's report of injured employee's change in employment status resulting from injury) reporting to the Workers' Compensation Board that Kwadzogah had lost time beginning in June 2008 and indicating that, for part of that time, it had made payments to Kwadzogah.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2011/2011_01389.htm
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