Workers’ Compensation Judge’s decision reversed on appeal.
We won a case on appeal, reversing the judge’s decision. Our insurance carrier client issued a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable (NTCP), agreeing to pay both indemnity and medical benefits for a lumbar strain allegedly sustained by the claimant. The 90-day period began on April 22, 2018, and ended July 20, 2018. On June 21, 2018, the claimant filed a claim petition for workers’ compensation benefits, alleging a low back injury. On July 17, 2018, the carrier issued a Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation Payable, stopping benefits as of June 5, 2018, and a Notice of Compensation Denial. Thereafter, the claimant filed a petition for penalties, averring the carrier violated the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act by failing to stop benefits within five days of receipt of the last payment of benefits. Accordingly, the NTCP converted to a Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP). The judge issued an Interlocutory Decision, ordering the carrier to reinstate disability benefits due to its failure to stop the claimant’s benefits within five days of the last payment. The carrier appealed, arguing that the Interlocutory Order was a final adjudication, merely labeled as “Interlocutory.” The carrier argued that because the judge’s order drastically altered the procedure and burdens of the litigation, it was a final adjudication and the carrier had a right to appeal therefrom. The carrier further argued that, even when a defendant fails to file a notice stopping within five days after the last payment, but does so within the 90-day NTCP timeframe, the NTCP does not convert to a NCP. The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board agreed and reversed the judge’s order.