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 Pennsylvania Jurisdiction Merely Because the Person Was Hired in Pennsylvania

In a decision that is logical and practical, the Commonwealth Court ruled that, under Section 305.2 of the Workers’ Compensation Act, Pennsylvania did not have jurisdiction over a workers’ compensation claim when the injured worker worked under a contract of hire made in Pennsylvania for employment principally located in another state. Rather, in Greenwalt v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Bristol Environmental, Inc.), the Court affirmed that jurisdiction is appropriate in Pennsylvania only when (1) the worker’s employment is principally located in Pennsylvania, or, (2) the worker is working under a contract of hire made in Pennsylvania in employment not principally localized in any state, or (3) the injured worker is working under a contract of hire made in Pennsylvania in employment principally localized in another state whose workers’ compensation law does not apply to the employer.


June 2014 Edition
Volume VIII
Number 6
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To Challenge an Impairment Rating Evaluation, Claimants Must Demonstrate That They Didn’t Reach MMI

So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Arvilla Oilfield Services, Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Carlson). In this case, the Court held that, under Section 306(a.2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer seeking to change an injured worker’s status based upon an Impairment Rating Evaluation must present evidence that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). If an employee seeks to challenge the IRE based upon the fact that he or she has not reached MMI, the injured worker must present competent evidence on this issue.


Preventing a Robbery, Even if Off-Duty, Is Compensable

In this case, the injured worker, a management employee, was injured after pursuing and attempting to stop a thief while the employee was on the employer’s premises outside of his scheduled shift in order to correct a cash register mistake and to stock the store’s cooler. The Commonwealth Court, in Wetzel v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Parkway Service Station), held that under Section 301(c)(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee is entitled to benefits unless the employer proves that the injured employee abandoned his employment, was not engaged in an activity that furthered the employer’s business, or violated a positive work rule.


Injured Workers Must Notify the UEGF of a Claim Within 45 Days of Learning that the Employer Was Not Insured

The Commonwealth Court, in Pennsylvania Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Lyle and Walt & Al’s Auto & Towing Service), ruled that, pursuant to Section 1603(b) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured worker must notify the Pennsylvania Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund (the UEGF/Fund) “within 45 days after the worker knew that the employer was uninsured” in order to receive benefits from the Fund. In this case, the Commonwealth Court liberally interpreted the date that the claimant learned that the employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance. On the other hand, the Court implicitly affirmed that a claimant who fails to provide notice within the statutory 45-day requirement is not entitled to benefits from the Fund.


Jurisdiction May Be Raised at Any Time

Because statutory immunity under the Workers’ Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 481(a), is a question of law that goes to the heart of a court’s jurisdiction to hear and decide a matter, a court may consider the defense at any stage, as long as the proceedings continue, even throughout the appellate process. Thus ruled the Superior Court in Sheard v. J.J. Deluca Company, Inc.


Supreme Court to Decide Important Subrogation Issue

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to decide the issue of whether Section 319 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, allows an employer/insurer to step into the shoes of the insured employee to subrogate against the tortfeasor. The case, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Domtar Paper Co., will now be briefed and argued by the parties.