Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) December 11, 2018 – Experts say that due to the state Supreme Court’s impairment valuation ruling, employers in Pennsylvania will likely be subject to a rise in workers’ compensation claim costs. In June 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court quashed the state’s impairment rating evaluation process on the basis that it is unconstitutional. The court held that the General Assembly unconstitutionally assigned to the American Medical Association the power to establish guidelines for assessing permanent impairment.
In cases where a doctor decides the extent of an injured employee’s impairment pursuant to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, employers can ask for an impairment evaluation. The provision mandated that doctors apply the methodology from the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The law had been in effect since 1996.
Prominent South Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys Petrillo & Goldberg state, “It has now become more challenging for employees who have been injured at work to find the most effective physician who can correctly diagnose their level of impairment.” “An injured employee who is dissatisfied with their diagnosis should contact a workers’ compensation attorney.”
As was reported in Business Insurance, in 2007, Mary Ann Protz suffered a work-related knee injury and started to receive temporary total disability benefits from her employer. A doctor assigned Protz a 10 percent impairment rating on the basis of the AMA guide, and her employer filed a petition to modify her disability status from total to partial, which would reduce the length of time she received workers’ compensation benefits.
Protz filed an appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, contending that it was unconstitutional for the General Assembly to assign to the AMA the power to create guidelines for assessing permanent impairment. However, the board disputed this argument. But, the commonwealth court issued a reversal of that decision on appeal, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania concurred that the provision was unconstitutional.
The Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau responded to the Supreme Court decision by filing a 6.06 percent loss cost increase. Due to the impairment evaluation rating (IRE) process, several claims were settled long before the 104 weeks arose. An IRE can be requested when an injured worker receives disability pay for 104 weeks. The IRE had a significant impact on claims, the potential for settlement and the settlement amount. Now that the IRE process is no longer in effect, costs will likely rise, and there will be an increase in claims that will become permanent.
Petrillo & Goldberg Law
6951 North Park Drive
Pennsauken, NJ 08109
19 South 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
70 South Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
- Workers’ compensation for worker who contracted Legionnaires’ Disease
A Pennsylvania court ruled that a man who became disabled after developing Legionnaires’ Disease, is entitled to workers’ compensation and medical benefits. Shawn Gillen said he contracted Legionnaires’ Disease as a result of exposure to contaminated water while he was performing his job responsibilities at Nestle USA Inc. According to court records, Gillen was stationed […]
- Settlement of labor law accusations against six South Jersey gas stations
According to their U.S. Labor Department, the proprietors of six South Jersey gas stations will pay over $460,000 to employees who worked 70 hours per week for an amount below the minimum wage, and received no compensation for overtime. USA Gas station owners Prabhit Singh and Harbir Piar were alleged to have violated the department’s […]
- Governor Christie says he will approve back pay for furloughed workers during government shutdown
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would approve legislation to restore compensation for workers who were laid off when the state government was shut down. This marked the second shutdown in the history of the state. A representative from his office said he does not possess the authority to do this on his own. […]
- Long wait for survivor benefits for the spouse of volunteer
Following the death of Scott Danielson, a member of the Lakeland Ambulance Squad and Andover Borough Councilman, his wife was left with a number of financial setbacks. Although it has been a year and a half since her husband’s death, she has yet to receive survivor benefits from the state. Shortly after her husband’s death, […]
- Settlement in retaliation suit grants city employee $75K
A city worker who claimed he was demoted and terminated after filing two workers’ compensation claims for injuries sustained at work has settled his lawsuit against Galloway for $75,000. Frank Chamberlain stated he received negative reviews from his supervisors and many disciplinary notices after he filed the second workers’ compensation claim in 2011. The suit […]