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.

Workers’ Compensation Judge May Amend Description of Injury at Any Time

In Walter v. WCAB (Evangelical Community Hospital), the Commonwealth Court ruled that a Workers’ Compensation Judge may amend a Notice of Compensation Payable under Section 413(a) of the Act during the litigation of any petition if evidence shows the NCP is materially incorrect.

January 2016 Edition
Volume X
Number 1

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Notice of Repetitive Trauma

A claimant’s notice to his employer that his illness or injury was related to his increased work hours constitutes sufficient notice of a repetitive trauma injury under the Workers’ Compensation Act. So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Gahring v. WCAB (R and R Builders and Stoudt’s Brewing Co.). The Court also explained that a claimant’s statement to his employer that his increased hours of work are causing him illness or injury is sufficient to put the employer on notice that the claimant may have a work-related injury.

Relocation is Not Per Se Withdrawal from the Workforce

That’s the ruling in Chesik v. WCAB (Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs), in which the Commonwealth Court ruled that a claimant’s permanent relocation outside the Commonwealth is, by itself, insufficient evidence of the claimant’s self-removal from the workforce to justify the suspension of benefits. Likewise, a claimant’s receipt of her disability pension cannot be the sole basis for the suspension of benefits. Rather, there must be additional evidence of the claimant’s determination to permanently remove herself from the workforce in order to support the suspension of benefits.

Employer May Rebut Occupational Diseases Claim Causal Presumption

The "occupational causal presumption" given to firefighters under Section 301(e) of the Workers' Compensation Act, is not conclusive, according to Swigart v. WCAB (City of Williamsport). Although an expert must consider the causal links between occupational hazards and diseases such as lung disease, the Act does not preclude an expert from attributing the disease to non-occupational factors, such as pre-existing bronchitis and smoking.

Employer Has Subrogation Rights Against Co-Worker’s Uninsured Motorist Benefits

An employer is entitled to subrogation under Section 319 of the Workers' Compensation Act, from an employee's recovery of uninsured motorist benefits through the policy of a co-employee, i.e., when the insurance is purchased by someone other than the claimant. So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Davis v. WCAB (PA Social Services Union).

Employer May Subrogate Against Future Benefits Under the MCARE Act

In Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District), the Commonwealth Court ruled that under the MCARE Act, an employer is precluded from subrogating against medical malpractice proceeds for medical expenses or earnings losses incurred before trial. An employer is entitled to subrogation against future/post-trial medical expenses and wage losses.