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.

Time to Answer Claim Petition Begins When Service is Completed

An Answer to a Claim Petition is not per se untimely if the Petition was mailed to an incorrect address. Rather, Section 416 of the Workers’ Compensation Act does not bar an employer from denying and fully contesting the allegations of the Claim Petition, absent proof the petition was received more than 20 days before the Answer was filed. So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Washington v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (National Freight Industries, Inc.).

April 2015 Edition
Volume IX
Number 4

Schaff & Young, P.C.
One South Broad Street
Suite 1650
Philadelphia, PA 19107
P: 215-988-0090
F: 215-988-0091

Average Weekly Wage Calculation Should Reflect Economic Realities

In Anderson v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (F.O. Transport and Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund), the Commonwealth Court held that, when the Workers’ Compensation Act does not address a method of calculating a worker’s average weekly wage for a particular situation, the average weekly wage should fairly assess a claimant’s earnings when he or she was actually working and reasonably reflect the economic reality of a claimant’s recent pre-injury earning experience, with some benefit of the doubt afforded to the claimant in the assessment.

A Carrier Must Explicitly Waive its Subrogation Rights

In order for an employer to waive its rights to future subrogation under Section 319 of the Workers’ Compensation Act, it must expressly state its intention to relinquish those rights. That is the Commonwealth Court’s ruling in Fortwangler v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Quest Diagnostics and Travelers Property and Casualty Company).

Wage Losses for Occupational Exposure Continue When Re-Exposure to the Irritant Would Cause a Recurrence of Disability

A claimant is entitled to indemnity benefits when cumulative exposure to a workplace condition caused claimant to develop an injury that prevents the claimant from returning to the pre-injury job, according to the Commonwealth Court in Little v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Select Specialty Hospital). In this case, claimant developed occupational asthma after being exposed to a chemical. Because claimant could not return to her pre-injury position because of the condition, claimant was only required to show that the aggravation arose in the course of employment, and that an aggravation would likely recur if claimant returned to the pre-injury job.