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.

Resumption of Benefits – 500 Week Limitations Period

The Supreme Court has addressed the various deadlines that apply when an injured worker seeks to receive benefits during or after the 500-week period under the Section 413(a) of the Act. In Cozzone v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (PA Municipal/East Goshen Township), the Court ruled that workers’ compensation claimants retain the right to petition for a modification of benefits for a minimum of three years from the date of the last payment of benefits. When benefits have been suspended because of a return to work, or an attempted return, without a loss in earnings, Section 413(a) extends the right to petition to the entire 500-week period during which compensation for partial disability is properly payable. In the event that payments are resumed after suspension, workers' compensation claimants retain the right to for any modification that they hold at the time of any workers' compensation payment received subsequent to suspension, for a minimum of three years from the date of that payment. In the event that that a period of suspension comes to an end upon the resumption (or commencement as the case may be) of workers' compensation payments, claimants retain the right to petition for modification as set forth in Section 413(a).

September 2013 Edition
Volume VII
Number 6

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No Benefits When Injury Arises from Non-Work-Related Responsibilities

In Trigon Holdings, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Griffith), the Commonwealth Court ruled that an employee is not considered injured during the course of his or her employment, and thus will not receive benefits, when he or she abandons work responsibilities and suffers an injury while deliberately engaging in a personal activity that is foreign to those work responsibilities and does not serve the employer's interests.

Medical Evidence Sufficient to Support a Fatal Claim Petition

Under the Workers' Compensation Act, a WCJ properly granted a fatal claim petition even though the precise cause of death was uncertain, because the medical evidence established that the cause of death was work-related and not the result of a pre-existing health condition. That is the holding of the Commonwealth Court in The Manitowoc Co., Inc. and Sentry Insurance v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Cowan).

Subrogation Remains Absolute

In Kennedy v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Henry Modell & Co., Inc.), the Commonwealth Court again affirmed that under Section 319 of the Workers' Compensation Act, an employer is entitled to subrogation against a claimant's third party recovery from the insurance carrier for the third party tortfeasor responsible for the claimant's original compensable work injury.