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.

Claimant Must Establish That His Presence Is Required to Establish Jurisdiction

In O’Rourke v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Gartland), the Commonwealth Court ruled that in order to establish the right to benefits under the “bunkhouse rule,” a claimant need only establish that his or her presence on the premises is required by the nature of his or her employment. Thus, the determination of whether an injury is work-related is to be made without regard to whether the employee’s presence was actually required at the particular place where the injury occurred.

February 2014 Edition
Volume VIII
Number 2

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Compromise & Release Agreements Only Resolve the “Exact Issues” Resolved

A Compromise & Release Agreement only precludes continued litigation of the “exact issues” resolved in the Agreement. So ruled the Commonwealth Court in H.A. Harper Sons, Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Sweigart and BWC Legal Division).

Petitions Can’t Be Dismissed Absent Prejudice

The Commonwealth Court ruled, in Wagner v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Ty Construction Co., Inc. and Erie Insurance), that dismissal is not an appropriate sanction for a claimant’s failure to meet deadlines to produce evidence when the employer cannot establish prejudice.

IRE Determinations Must Be Challenged Within 60 Days

A claimant must appeal the change in total benefit status following an Impairment Rating Evaluation within 60 days of receipt of notice or the “IRE is beyond challenge.” As the Commonwealth Court held in Wingrove v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Allegheny Energy), a claimant may obtain a new impairment evaluation and seek to change his or her disability status back to total if the evaluation shows an impairment rating of 50 percent or greater.

Notice of Ability to Return to Work Not Required for Unaccepted Claim

An employer is not required to provide a claimant with a Notice of Ability to Return to Work during the time after it issued a Notice of Compensation Denial, but before the claimant filed a Claim Petition, according to the Commonwealth Court in School District of Philadelphia v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Hilton).

Utilization Review Petitions Not Void If Determination Is Issued Late

Because the UR reviewer is not a party to the proceeding and is not under the control or supervision of a party, a Utilization Review Determination is not void merely because it was issued outside the time specified under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Commonwealth Court issued this practical decision in Womack v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (The School District of Philadelphia).