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.


Pennsylvania Supreme Court Extends the Scope of Information a Physician May Consider When Performing Impairment Rating Evaluations

In an Opinion that will impact numerous Impairment Rating Evaluations, the Supreme Court has ruled that a physician performing an Impairment Rating Evaluation under Section 306(a.2)(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act should consider all conditions that the physician believes are related to the work injury when performing an IRE, and not just the injuries accepted by the employer. The decision, in Duffey v. WCAB (Trola-Dyne, Inc.), requires an IRE physician to consider and exercise independent professional judgment to make a whole-body assessment of the degree of impairment “due to” the compensable injury. Justice Baer and Justice Wecht each filed dissenting opinions.


March 2017 Edition
Volume XI
Number 1
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Commonwealth Court Limits IRE Challenges to Claims Still Within The 500 Week Modification Period

In Riley v. WCAB (Comm. of Pa.), the Court ruled that a claimant must challenge an Impairment Rating Evaluation under Protz v. WCAB (Derry School District), before the expiration of the 500-week statutory benefit period.


UEGF Does Not Have to Provide Benefits When an Employer Is Insured in Another State

In a published/precedential Opinion in which Schaff & Young Founding Partner Michael Schaff represented the employer, the Commonwealth Court ruled that an employee injured in Pennsylvania who is employed (1) by an employer domiciled in another state, (2) that has not secured workers’ compensation coverage under Section 305.2(c) of the Workers’ Compensation Act. This case, Salvadori v. WCAB (Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund and Farmers Propane, Inc.), addressed an issue that had not been ruled upon by Pennsylvania courts.


Claimants May Challenge Pre-Protz IRE Determinations

So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Beasley v. WCAB (Peco Energy Co.). The Court held that a Claimant may raise the issue of the improper use of the 6th Edition of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment on appeal, even though the matter began before the Court had decided Protz v. WCAB, which is currently on appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.


Subrogation Applies to Wage Losses and Medical Benefits

In Whitmoyer v. WCAB (Mountain Country Meats), the Commonwealth Court held an employer is entitled to subrogation from an injured employee's third party claim for both medical benefits and indemnity benefits under Section 319 of the Workers' Compensation Act. The Court specifically ruled that the term "compensation" applies to medical expenses and wage loss/indemnity benefits.


Presumption of Compensability Does Not Per Se Entitle Firefighters to Benefits

According to the Commonwealth Court (in Capaldi v. WCAB (City of Philadelphia), the presumption of compensability under Section 301(f) of the Act does not apply to a firefighter who fails to demonstrate that his cancer was an occupational disease under Section 108(r), which requires proof that the Group 1 carcinogens to which he was exposed have been shown to cause the type of cancer for which he has been diagnosed.


Claimant’s Counsel Must Refund Unreasonable Contest Fees If a Court Later Determines That the Contest Was Reasonable

An employer may recover invalid unreasonable contest attorney's fees that it was required to pay to counsel for claimant if the determination of an unreasonable contest is overturned in a later part of the case. The Commonwealth Court made this decision in County of Allegheny v. WCAB (Parker).