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.

Supersedeas Fund Reimbursement Permitted for Post-Supersedeas Request Treatment

Under Section 413 of the Workers' Compensation Act, when the medical treatment in question occurred before the supersedeas request, but the bill was submitted to and paid by the insurer after supersedeas was denied, and it was ultimately determined that the treatment in question was not the result of a work-injury, Supersedeas Fund reimbursement was appropriate. That is how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Workers' Compensation v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Crawford & Co.).

August 2011 Edition
Volume V
Number 8

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Consider All Circumstances When Evaluating Whether a Claimant Provided Proper Notice of Injury

That is the essence of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Gentex Corp. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Morack). The Court ruled that an exact diagnosis is not necessary in order for an employee to provide adequate notice of a work-related injury to an employer under Section 312 of the Workers' Compensation Act. Rather, only a reasonably precise description of the injury is required. In addition, the context of the communications between the employee and the employer concerning the work-related injury is relevant in considering whether the employee provided adequate notice to the employer.

Nexus Needed to Establish a Fatal Claim

When a work injury appears to bear no relationship to events associated with employment activities, but instead relates to a final act (in this case, receipt of a letter terminating claimant's employment two days after claimant last worked) that is only work-related insofar as the event alters the employment relationship, the injury associated with that final act does not arise in the course of employment, according to the Commonwealth court in Little v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (B&L Ford/Chevrolet).

Look at All the Facts Relating to a Termination of Benefits, Not Just the Date of NCP

In City of Philadelphia v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Butler), the Commonwealth Court took a practical approach, holding that the date of a Notice of Compensation Payable does not preclude the termination, suspension or modification of benefits as of a date before the filing of the NCP. In this case, the Court considered all of the circumstances, not just the dates of the documents.

Attorney's Fee Limits Are Constitutional

Addressing yet another challenge to the limitations upon attorney’s fees under the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Commonwealth Court in Seitzinger v. Commonwealth affirmed that Sections 442 and 449 of the Workers' Compensation Act, which limit the amount of attorney's fees payable under the Act, do not violate (1) the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's authority under the Pennsylvania Constitution to regulate the legal profession under Article V, Section 10 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the separation of powers doctrine, or (2) the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Crime Victims' Employment Protection Act Does Not Preempt the Workers’ Compensation Act

That’s the Commonwealth Court’s holding in Rodgers v. Lorenz, in which the Court ruled that the Workers' Compensation Act does not preempt the Crime Victims' Employment Protection Act, which was enacted to protect crime victims who have not yet attended their hearing from threats, coercion and loss of employment. Thus, a plaintiff fails to state a claim under the Act when the plaintiff was fired before testifying against another employee who assaulted him, despite the employer's directive not to do so.