An Indiana appellate court ruled the state’s Worker’s Compensation Board erred in upholding a determination that an injured worker’s petition for additional workers comp benefits was untimely filed.
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday reversed a board ruling dismissing a claim adjustment application by Angela Santos, who injured her back in December 2019 while working for Franciscan Health, affiliated with the Franciscan Alliance Inc. health care system.
The claim was initially accepted as compensable. Ms. Santos filed a petition to adjust her claim in December 2021, but the application was denied because the paperwork was dated Dec. 6, one day after a two-year deadline.
The employer argued the claim was untimely filed and the comp board agreed.
Ms. Santos appealed, arguing her application was timely filed because the last day of the two-year period fell on a Sunday, and she sent the application by certified mail on Monday, the first business day.
The appeals court agreed with Ms. Santos, ruling the state’s work comp statute is silent as to how an application for claim adjustment must be filed, and that Ms. Santos timely filed her application under certain procedural rules.
The employer attempted to distinguish between an original application and a subsequent claim adjustment application, but the appeals judges said the rules provide no such distinction, and that the adjustment application was timely filed.
The court reversed the lower ruling and remanded the case to the comp board for further proceedings.
This article was first published in Business Insurance.