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 We look forward to hearing from you.

Limitations Period for Reinstatement – Calculate the Period Carefully

In Romanowski v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Precision Coil Processing), the Commonwealth Court has ruled that a claimant's failure to timely challenge a Supplemental Agreement or to seek reinstatement of partial disability benefits within the applicable 500-week limitations period bars any claims under Section 413(a) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 772. In this case, Claimant was injured in 1978, his benefits were suspended in 1993, and the 500-week period following the suspension ended in July 2002. In a petition filed in October 2004, claimant alleged a worsening condition and sought specific loss benefits. His petition was denied, and the denial has now been upheld by the Commonwealth Court.

April 2008 Edition
Volume II
Number 4

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Modified Vans May Be Deemed Medical Equipment

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that a van, modified to make it wheelchair accessible for a workers' compensation claimant rendered a quadriplegic by a work-related injury, and not merely the wheelchair lift and modifications installed in the van, is an "orthopedic appliance" under Section 306(f.1)(1)(ii) of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The extent of an employer's obligation will depend, however, upon the specific facts of the case. In addition, the Court held in Griffiths v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Seven Stars Farm, Inc.), that the cost containment provisions of the Act do not apply when the provider - in this case a car dealer - is not a health care provider. Justice Eakin filed a dissenting opinion.

“Retiring” Employees – A Tough Burden for Claimants Receiving a Pension

That’s the practical impact of Mason v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Joy Mining Machinery), in which the Commonwealth Court affirmed that in order to overcome the presumption that an employee has left the workforce, a claimant who accepts a pension must establish that (1) he or she is seeking employment, or (2) the work-related injury forced him or her to retire. To show that he has not left the workforce under the second part of this test, a claimant has to establish that he or she is incapable of working at any job in the entire labor market, not just that he or she is incapable of performing his or her pre-injury position. Once a claimant establishes either, the employer can only modify benefits by offering suitable alternative employment.

An “Extension” for Dilatory Doctors

In Sueta v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (City of Scranton), the Commonwealth Court has ruled that a medical provider must mail its records to a utilization reviewer within 30 days of the request pursuant to 34 Pa.Code § 127.464 because the Act does not require that the records must be received within 30 days.