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.

What Happens Before or After Work Is Compensable at Work

Arriving at or leaving an employee's work location is a necessary part of an employee's employment, and is generally considered to be furthering the employer's interests, according to the Commonwealth Court in Ace Wire Spring and Form Co. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Walshesky). In this case, the Court ruled an employee injured during this time period, albeit before or after the work day has begun or ended, is entitled to workers' compensation benefits, provided the injury occurred at a reasonable time before or after the work period.

July 2014 Edition
Volume VIII
Number 7

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No Death Benefits for Common Law Spouse If the Marriage Is Not Recognized in Pennsylvania

So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Cooney v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Patterson UTI, Inc.). The Court explained that a claimant is not entitled to widow's death benefits under Section 307(3) of the Workers' Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 561, when no valid common-law marriage exists under Section 1103 of the Marriage Law, 23 Pa. C.S. § 1103. A common law marriage does not exist when the parties began cohabiting and holding themselves out as husband and wife in a state that does not recognize common-law marriage, and then moved to Pennsylvania after common-law marriage was abolished.

Pay Medical Insurance Subrogation Liens to the Carrier

When a medical insurance company has a validly-preserved subrogation lien, any resulting reimbursed medical expenses should be paid to the insurer, not directly to the claimant. That is the ruling in Evans v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Highway Equipment and Supply Co.), in which the Commonwealth Court noted that once the parties agree that the lien exists, it should be paid to the carrier, not the injured worker.