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.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Address Wage Calculation Issue

In Hiler v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (US Airways Group, Inc.), the Pennsylvania Supreme has agreed to answer the following question: “What is the proper calculation of a claimant's average weekly wage under Section 309(d) of the Workers' Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 582(d), when the claimant incurs a period of zero wages due to a voluntary furlough during the relevant look-back period?”

February 2011 Edition
Volume V
Number 2

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No Second Guessing Why a WCJ Ruled

A party may not challenge or second-guess a Workers' Compensation Judge's credibility determinations under Section 422(a), 77 P.S. § 834. Unless made arbitrarily or capriciously, a WCJ's credibility determinations will be upheld on appeal. That’s the Commonwealth Court’s decision in Shannopin Mining Co. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Sereg).

There Must Be Competent Evidence to Amend an NCP

In City of Pittsburgh v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Wilson), the Commonwealth Court has affirmed that a Workers' Compensation Judge may not amend the description of an injury in a Notice of Compensation Payable without competent medical testimony. The testimony of a physician, which is later recanted, is not competent, credible evidence.

Fee Reviews – Two Ways to Calculate Filing Deadlines

That’s right. The Commonwealth Court has ruled in Fidelity & Guaranty Insurance Co. v. Bureau of Workers' Compensation (Community Medical Center), that, pursuant to Section 306(f.1)(5) of the Act, an Application for Fee Review must be filed either within thirty (30) days following notification of a disputed treatment, or within ninety (90) days following the original billing date.

Mental Injuries – Still Very Difficult to Prove

Mental injuries remain quite difficult to prove. In Washington v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Commonwealth, State Police), the Commonwealth Court affirmed the denial of benefits to a state trooper for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Court rule that the claimant was not entitled to benefits because (1) it was a normal working condition for a trooper to view, photograph, and attend the autopsy of the maimed cadaver of an infant, and (2) claimant did not demonstrate by objective evidence that the post-traumatic stress disorder was more than a subjective reaction to a normal working condition.

A WCJ May Amend the Injury Description at Virtually Any Time

A WCJ may correct an NCP during a termination proceeding under Section 413 of the Act, 77 P.S. §§ 771-772, without the claimant filing a separate petition to support a corrective amendment. Because it was not necessary for Claimant to file a separate petition and because Employer filed its termination petition within three years of the last payment of benefits, the expansion of the description of Claimant's work injury was not time-barred, according to the Commonwealth Court in Pizza Hut, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Mahalick).