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Injured owners of a company not bound by the section 311 notice requirement.

  • Jon Koutcher
  • 04/24/2014

Section 311 of the Workers Compensation Act provides that notice must be given to an employer within 120 days after an accident. I wrote a previous blog on the notice requirement under this section of the Act. An interesting twist on the notice requirement exists when the injured person is the owner/principal of a business. In other words, when the injured worker is actually the employer.

In order for notice to be adequate under the provisions of Section 311 of the Act, notice must be provided to one whose position justifies that authority has been delegated to that person by the employer as its representative to receive a report or notice of such accidental injury. When the owner/principal of a business is the one who is injured, logic would dictate that the owner/principal can provide notice to themselves. This is one instance where logic and case law are compatible.

Courts have explained that the purpose of the notice requirement is to protect the employer from stale claims for accidents of which it would have no knowledge if made after the opportunity has passed for a full and complete investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident. Courts have further consistently held that Section 311 of the Act does not require notice to the workmen’s compensation insurance carrier within 120 days of the accident when the claimant is also the employer. Section 311 does not require notice to an insurance company; instead, the mandate under this section of the Act is simply for notice from an employee to an employer.

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