Workers’ Comp In-Cites
Welcome to the latest edition of Schaff & Young's Workers' Comp In-Cites. Designed to provide our clients with practical insight, Workers' Comp In-Cites outlines recent developments in Pennsylvania workers' compensation law and explains how those decisions impact our clients and their cases. Barbara Young, Michael Schaff and the other attorneys at Schaff & Young, P.C. are always available to discuss these cases – or any other questions or concerns you might have. Just give us a call at (215) 988-0090 or send an email to info@schaffyoung.com. We look forward to hearing from you.


Supreme Court to Decide What is “Compensation”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Giant Eagle, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Givner), will decide whether "compensation" must include medical benefits as well as wage loss benefits under Section 314 (a) of the Workers' Compensation Act.


July 2010 Edition
Volume IV
Number 6
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Supreme Court to Address Burdens of Proof Relating to Notice of an Injury

In Gentex Corporation and Gallagher Bassett Services v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Morack), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will decide “What constitutes sufficient notice, including how specific the description of the injury must be, under Section 312 of the Workers' Compensation Act.” The Court’s Order also directs the parties to “address if , and when, the burden shifts to the employer to conduct a reasonable investigation into the circumstances surrounding the injury.”


Labor Market Surveys are Sufficient to Support Modification – Even if Claimant Applies and Isn’t Hired

In a case certainly destined to open the litigation floodgates, Phoenixville Hospital v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Shoap), the Commonwealth Court has ruled that, pursuant to Section 306(b)(3)(ii) of the Act, a claimant has an obligation to begin pursuing employment opportunities upon being supplied with a Notice of Ability to Return to Work. In addition, and most importantly, a job exists for purposes of Section 306(a) of the Act, even if a claimant applies for the job and does not receive an offer of employment, provided the employer presents credible expert testimony that the jobs were open and available at the time the employment opportunities were identified. Thus, an Employer is not precluded from obtaining a modification of benefits even when a Claimant pursues and is not offered any of the jobs contained in the labor market survey.


Notice of Compensation Denials Permitted for Medical Only Claims

In Forbes Road CTC v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Consla), the Commonwealth Court has ruled that an employer may properly issue a Notice of Compensation Denial (NCD) as a means of accepting a claimed work injury for medical purposes only.


Pre-Employment Injuries Not Compensable

That’s the Commonwealth Court’s holding in Moberg v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Twining Village), in which the Court stated that an injury suffered during a pre-employment test, taken as a prerequisite to employment, is not compensable because there was no employer/employee relationship at the time of the injury.


Lunch Break Injuries Are Compensation

In Forbes Road CTC v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Consla), the Commonwealth Court has ruled that an employer may properly issue a Notice of Compensation Denial (NCD) as a means of accepting a claimed work injury for medical purposes only.


Notice of Compensation Denials Permitted for Medical Only Claims

Injuries suffered during a lunch break in a fall on a parking lot at the office park where claimant worked, even if the lot is used by employees of other businesses and is not owned by the employer, are compensable. In particular, any injury sustained by an employee up until he or she leaves the premises of the employer, provided that the time of injury was reasonably proximate to work hours, is compensable, according to the Commonwealth Court in ICT Group v. Workers Compensation Appeal Board (Churchray-Woytunick).


Closed Claim Are OK, Even With “Irreversible Injuries”

In Milner v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Main Line Endoscopy Center), the Commonwealth Court has ruled that a WCJ may award benefits in a Claim Petition for a closed period even if a physician testifies that the condition was "irreversible" because the burden remains on the claimant to establish a compensable injury and ongoing disability.


No Suspension of Medical Payments On Appeal After UR is Denied

The Commonwealth Court has ruled in Scranton School District v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Carden) that an employer may not suspend the payment of medical benefits during the pendency of a Petition for Review of Utilization Review Determination filed after the treatment has been found to be reasonable and necessary under Section 306(f.1)(6) of the Act.