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.
A Claimant's Healthcare Provider May Participate in an IME
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has affirmed the Commonwealth Court's decision in Knechtel v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Marriott Corp.), in which the Commonwealth Court ruled that a claimant's healthcare provider is permitted to participate in an examination conducted by an employer's physician. In a Concurring Statement, Justice Baer, joined by Justice Baldwin, wrote to express the opinion "that nothing in our affirmance of the Commonwealth Court's opinion, limiting a healthcare provider to attending and observing an employer's physical examination, should be seen as precluding such a provider from engaging in other passive, non-disruptive activity during the exam." Justice Baer further explained his belief "that a workers' compensation judge retains the discretion to grant a claimant's reasonable request to take notes and/or audio or videotape the examination, so long as such activity will not interfere with an employer's physician's ability to conduct an examination."

December 2007 Edition
Volume 1
Number 12
www.schaffyoung.com


Schaff & Young, P.C.
One South Broad Street
Suite 1650
Philadelphia, PA 19107
P: 215-988-0090
F: 215-988-0091
www.schaffyoung.com
info@schaffyoung.com


A Claimant Bears the Burden of Proving All Aspects of a Claim Petition, Including Proving that an Executive Officer Did Not Out of Receiving Compensation
The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, 77 P.S. 22, permits executive officers to opt out of receiving benefits by completing a form LIBC-513. Thus, an executive officer who later seeks benefits under the Act must prove all elements of a claim petition, including an employer-employee relationship, which does not exist under the Act if a valid election is signed.

To Obtain a Termination of Benefits, the Employer's Witness Must Testify that the Claimant Has Fully Recovered from the Injury Designated on the Notice of Compensation Payable
That's the holding in Elberson v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Elwyn, Inc.), in which the Commonwealth Court ruled that, to "terminate benefits, an employer's expert must recognize the work injury as described in the notice of compensation payable and opine that the claimant has fully recovered from that injury." Where, as here, the physician testifies that the claimant is fully recovered from the work-related injury, but does not know what the injury was, the testimony is inadequate to support a termination of benefits.

Be Consistent When Paying Medical Bills
An employer is not excused from paying medical bills simply because they were not submitted on the required HCFA forms. Rather, a provider's failure to submit written reports to an insurance does not excuse an employer from penalties when it did not require medical reports in all instances for payment of medical services. When a carrier has paid at least one of claimant's bills that were not submitted on the proper form - and the claimant had also provided all other information necessary for the bills to be paid - a Workers' Compensation Judge may assess penalties, according to the Commonwealth Court in Seven Stars Farm, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Griffiths).

IRE Orders Are Not Appealable
An Order requiring a claimant to submit to an Impairment Rating Examination is a non-appealable, interlocutory order, according to the Commonwealth in Seven Stars Farm, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Griffiths).

Petitions for Reinstatement Must be Filed Within 500 Weeks of the Date on Which Beneifts Were Suspended
Affirming prior decisions, the Commonwealth Court held in Prosick v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Hershey Chocolate USA) that a claimant's benefits may not be reinstated when the claimant files a petition for reinstatement after the expiration of the 500 week period for payment of partial disability benefits and more than three years after the last receipt of benefits.