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.
Pay Workers' Comp Awards Promptly
That’s the clear message from the Commonwealth Court in Mercer Line & Stone Co. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (McGallis), in which the Court upheld an assessment of penalties for a late payment, emphasizing that “an employer’s obligation to pay compensation benefits under an award is immediate; the Act and accompanying regulations do not provide for any grace period, thirty-days or otherwise.” The Court noted that it is unclear how quickly an employer must pay an unappealed award to avoid being found in default, adding that an employer will not be in default if it pursues and appeal and seeks supersedeas.

June 2007 Edition
Volume 1
Number 6
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Claimants Must Show an Increase or Recurrence in Disability to Reverse a Termination
In Huynh v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Hatfield Quality Meats), the Commonwealth Court affirmed that a claimant seeking to overturn a termination of his or her benefits must produce evidence that his or her disability has increased or recurred after the date of the termination, and that his or her physical condition has actually changed in some manner. In this case, Claimant sought to relitigate a prior termination by claiming (probably correctly) that the ruling in underlying termination petition had been incorrect. Because Claimant failed to appeal that decision, however, he was precluded here from relitigating the ruling and had to demonstrate a change in his condition.

Failure to Answer Claim Petition - The Insurer Listed is On the Hook
In Brady v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Morgan Drive Away, Inc. and U.S. Specialty Insurance Co.), Claimant filed a Claim Petition listing U.S. Specialty as the insurer for the Employer, and the Employer failed to file an Answer. The Commonwealth Court ruled that the carrier’s failure to file an Answer barred it from later claiming that any of the petition’s allegations were untrue. Consequently, because Claimant had submitted a letter from the carrier into evidence in which it stated that it was the Employer’s insurer, there was substantial evidence of record to support the WCJ’s decisions that it was the insurance carrier at the time of Claimant’s injury.