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.

Employers May Still Be Liable for Negligence Claims Under the Dual Capacity Doctrine

In Neidert v. Charlie, the Superior Court explained that although the Workers’ Compensation Act bars lawsuits against an employer, Pennsylvania courts recognize a “dual capacity” exception. Under this doctrine, an employer normally shielded from tort liability may become liable in tort if the employer occupies, in addition to its capacity as employer, a second capacity that confers obligations independent of those imposed on the party as an employer.

July 2016 Edition
Volume X
Number 5

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No Per Se Rule Allows Attorney to Receive a Fee on Medical Bills

While 20% contingency fees are per se reasonable in a workers’ compensation claim for indemnity benefits, a Workers’ Compensation Judge must conduct a separate analysis of medical bill payments, including a determination whether claimant and counsel intended in the fee agreement for counsel to receive a percentage of the medical benefits. Thus, in Righter v. WCAB (Righters Parking), Claimant’s counsel could not receive a fee on medical bills.

Party May Appeal Order Incorrectly Designated as Non-Appealable

So ruled the Commonwealth Court in Dep’t of Labor & Indus. v. WCAB (Gerretz). The Court explained that an order striking a joinder petition is a final appealable order. However, because the WCJ in this case explicitly identified the order as interlocutory, the Court concluded that the carrier was entitled to seek nunc pro tunc review.