Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Thomas V. Ferrick v. Thomas V. Ferrick, Inc., No. A-69282.
Edward R. Paul, with him, of counsel, LaBrum and Doak, for appellant.
Daniel J. McAleer, with him Thomas F. McDevitt, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr. and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 592]
On September 12, 1969, while on a jobsite in Camden, New Jersey, Thomas V. Ferrick (claimant) was struck by several pieces of wood thrown from the window of a nearby structure. His wife, who was the secretary of Thomas V. Ferrick, Inc., claimant's employer, was verbally notified of the accident the same day. On December 11, 1969, claimant and his wife executed an employer's report
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 593]
of industry injury which was sent to the Department of Labor and Industry. A copy of this report was mailed to Allstate Insurance Company, the workmen's compensation carrier. On June 26, 1970, Allstate informed claimant that his claim was denied. On May 20, 1970, the Bureau of Workmen's Compensation (Bureau) informed claimant that he had a right to file a claim petition. The following day claimant requested the proper forms which he promptly received.
The events that followed claimant's receipt of his claim petition are the subject of this dispute. Claimant contends that he mailed the properly addressed, stamped, and completed claim petition to the Bureau on May 25, 1970. On February 17, 1971, in response to claimant's inquiries concerning the progress of his case, claimant learned that the Bureau had no record of his petition. A second petition was mailed to claimant on March 1, 1971. Although claimant promptly filed this petition, the statutorily imposed 16-month period of limitations*fn1 had already expired on January 12, 1971. Claimant's employer therefore asserted that the claim was barred as untimely.
At a hearing limited solely to the question of whether claimant had filed his claim petition within the 16-month period, the referee found, on the basis of claimant's own testimony and certain circumstantial evidence, that claimant had mailed his properly addressed and stamped claim petition on May 25, 1970, well within the 16-month period. On appeal, the Workmen's Compensation Appeal
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 594]
Board affirmed the referee. It is uncontested that this mailing, if it took place, would be sufficient to constitute a filing, whether or not the petition was received by the Bureau. Rockwood Insurance Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 15 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 499, 326 A.2d 665 (1974); Laffey v. Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co., 125 Pa. Superior Ct. 9, 189 A. 509 (1937).
Our scope of review, where as here the Board took no additional evidence, is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or necessary findings of fact were unsupported by substantial evidence. McGee v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 18 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 452, 336 A.2d 458 (1975). Furthermore, since the claimant prevailed below, he is entitled to the benefit of the most favorable inferences to be drawn from the ...