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In The News: PA Workers Comp Update 6/20/17

 HOW LONG CAN I GET WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS IN PA.? 

AN UPDATE

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT ISSUES LANDMARK DECISION IN            PROTZ V. WCAB (DERRY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT)

On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that Section 306(a.2) of the Pa. Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) was unconstitutional. Previously, since passage of revisions to the Act in 1996, an employer could have an injured worker evaluated by an independent medical examiner to determine his or her percentage of impairment directly resulting from a work injury. This was known as an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). The injured worker must have received 104 weeks of total disability benefits prior to the IRE being requested. Once requested and scheduled, the IRE medical examiner was asked to utilize the American Medical Association (AMA) Guidelines for Impairment 4th Edition. If the IRE rating was equal to or greater than 50 percent, then an injured worker was presumed to be totally disabled. An injured worker was considered partially disabled if he or she had a total impairment rating of less-than 50 percent and the injured worker’s benefits were resultantly limited to the statutory 500-week partial disability time period. The AMA guidelines almost always found an injured worker less-than 50 percent disabled.