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.


Impairment Rating Evaluations May Be Upheld if WCJ Finds Examining Doctor Credible

An Impairment Rating Evaluation under Section 306(a.2)(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 511.2(1), is valid when the WCJ bases the decision on the credibility of the IRE examiner, according to the Commonwealth Court in Neff v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Pennsylvania Game Commission). The Court approved the IRE because the WCJ based his credibility determinations upon the doctor’s demonstrated familiarity with the claimant’s medical history, the doctor’s clear and logical expression of opinion, the consistency of the doctor’s explanations, the corroboration of the doctor’s opinions, the lack of any significant qualification or retraction of the doctor’s opinions, and the absence of specific medical opinions disputing the doctor’s opinions of maximum medical improvement and the percentage of impairment.


February 2015 Edition
Volume IX
Number 2
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With Multiple Specific Losses, the Appeal Board Determines the Form of Benefits

Pursuant to Section 306(c)(23) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, a claimant who suffers a bilateral loss of arms, feet, legs, or eyes may file a petition with the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board to elect to receive specific loss benefits instead of the default presumption of total disability benefits. However, as noted by the Commonwealth Court in Arnold v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Lacour Painting, Inc.), the determination whether to alter the presumption of total disability benefits is left to the Board, which is to be guided solely by whether the default presumption of total disability or an election of the specific loss benefits provides the “optimum benefit available to a claimant,” and that the benefits claimant elects fall within the statutory scheme.


Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Does Not Have Authority to Determine Whether an Entity is a Medical Provider

In Physical Therapy Institute, Inc. v. Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fee Review Hearing Office, the Commonwealth Court ruled that the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fee Review Hearing Office lacks jurisdiction to determine whether an entity is a “provider” of medical services or simply a billing agency. A claimant may file a review or penalty petition, however, in order to establish the carrier’s liability to the provider.


Claimant’s Counsel Not Entitled to Fees for Work Before a Settlement is Reached

An attorney discharged before a settlement is reached is not entitled to an additional proportionate share of the contingent fee from the settlement proceeds based on the relative contributions of the attorneys. So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Mayo v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Goodman Distribution, Inc.).