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.

20 Percent Fee Is Reasonable – Even If Claimant Is Receiving Heart & Lung and Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In City of Philadelphia v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Ford-Tilghman), the Commonwealth Court ruled that, because a 20 percent fee is per se reasonable, a Workers’ Compensation Judge must approve a 20 percent counsel fee, even for a claimant receiving benefits pursuant to the Heart and Lung Act. The fee must be paid because Workers’ Compensation Judges do not have jurisdiction in Heart and Lung Act matters, and Claimants are entitled to pursue both workers’ compensation and Heart and Lung Act benefits.

April 2010 Edition
Volume IV
Number 4

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Offsets are Based on Net Benefits Received

An employer is only entitled to offset a Claimant’s workers’ compensation benefits by the amount of pension benefits actually received by Claimant and not by the entire amount of pension benefits funded by the employer, according to the Commonwealth Court in City of Philadelphia v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Harvey).

Doctor Must Examine All Injured Body Parts Before a Termination May Be Granted

That’s the holding in Stancell v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (LKI Group, LLC), in which the Commonwealth Court ruled that a Workers’ Compensation Judge erred by granting a termination of benefits when the defendant’s medical expert, upon whom the Judge’s Decision was based, failed to examine one of the body parts acknowledged in the Notice of Compensation Payable.

No Relief Without a Notice of Ability to Return to Work

When an employer fails to provide the claimant with a Notice of Ability to Return to Work, the employer is not entitled to a suspension or modification of benefits based upon the claim that the injured worker is capable of performing some work, the Commonwealth Court held in Wells v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Skinner). The Court also affirmed that, pursuant to Kachinksi, an employer must still establish job availability prior to seeking a modification or suspension of benefits, even where Claimant has other non-work related injuries that may preclude him from working.

For Workers With Two Dates of Injuries, Use the Most Recent Injury Date When Calculating Benefits and Offsets

In Christy v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Philadelphia Gear Corp.), the Commonwealth Court ruled that, when a Claimant suffers from two work related injuries that are separately totally disabling, compensation should be based on the later in time injury until the entitlement to benefits for that injury changes. This rule also applies to offsets, i.e., the injury that determines the benefit rate also determines the offset rates.