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.


No Right to Add New Injury After C&R Approval

When a claimant does not expressly reserve in a Compromise & Release Agreement the right to add a new injury to the description of work injuries, he is precluded from adding the work injuries more than two years after the approval of the C&R. The employer’s voluntary payment of medical expenses is not an admission of its liability and cannot be construed as a promise to continue to make such payments. So ruled the Commonwealth Court in DePue v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (N. Paone Construction, Inc.).


February 2013 Edition
Volume VII
Number 2
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Suspension Warranted When Claimant Leaves Job For Reasons Unrelated to the Work Injury

An employer is entitled to a suspension of benefit when a claimant, who was capable of performing and did perform a light-duty position consistent with his work-related injuries, leaves the position for a reason unrelated to the work injuries. In general, the Commonwealth Court noted in North Pittsburgh Drywall Co., Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Owen), when a separation is related to the claimant's injuries, a suspension is not appropriate. When the reason for the separation is unrelated to the work injuries, either because of claimant's bad faith or voluntary quitting for reasons unrelated to the work injuries, then a suspension is warranted.


No Reinstatement For Bad Faith Refusal of Employment Faith

In Napierski v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Scobell Company, Inc. and Cincinnati Insurance Co.), the Commonwealth Court ruled that a claimant who refuses in bad faith to accept a job he was capable of performing is not entitled to reinstatement to total disability benefits unless he proves that his physical condition had worsened to the extent that he could not do the job provided to him.


Subrogation Rights Remain Absolute – Absent Deliberate Bad Faith

Although an employer's right to subrogation from a third party recovery is absolute, there may be circumstances in which an employer acts in deliberate bad faith to subvert a third party suit filed by the Claimant. Absent such circumstances, the Employer's right to subrogation against Claimant’s third-party recovery remains, and is not extinguished because of a miscommunication rather than the Employer's bad faith. That’s the holding of the Commonwealth Court in Glass v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (The City of Philadelphia).


Suspension of Benefits Appropriate For Unauthorized Aliens

According to the Commonwealth Court in Ortiz v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Raul Rodriguez d/b/a Rodriguez General Contractors and Uninsured Employer's Guaranty Fund), a suspension of benefits is proper when a Claimant’s loss of earning power is caused by his status as an unauthorized alien and not his work injury.