Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

Latest from Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

It is a frequent call we receive.  “My check is late.”  Nobody wants to deal with a delay in getting their check, especially around the holidays.  Indeed, getting a check late means more than just difficulty in holiday shopping – it means late rent, mortgage payments, phone bills, credit card payments, car payments, etc.  Getting checks from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier in an untimely fashion can cause late fees, eviction proceedings and repossessions. The…
As happens every year around this time, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has released the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) for the coming year.  For 2021, the SAWW is $1,130.00, an increase over the $1,081.00 of 2020.  The SAWW represents the maximum weekly workers’ compensation rate an injured worker can receive in PA (for injuries taking place in 2021). Unfortunately, those injured before 2021 do not see any change in their workers’ compensation rate…
The Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rarely announces the coming or going of Workers’ Compensation Judges (WCJs).  Recently, the Bureau veered from its normal procedure and announced the following release: “The Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication is pleased to announce the hiring of two new Judges:  Anthony Salvino, Esq. and Jeffrey Mills, Esq.  They will begin training on November 23, 2020 and will be assigned to the Reading office.  Both Tony and Jeff bring a…
As we have discussed in the past, the assessment of unreasonable contest attorney fees is a rare finding in PA workers’ compensation.  This is when the workers’ comp insurance carrier is ordered to pay the fees of the injured worker’s attorney.  Even on those unusual occasions when a Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) orders the payment of unreasonable contest attorney fees, often this is reversed by the appellate courts.  Which is why a recent decision of…
Back in 2017, we shared the exciting news (hey, we attorneys have a unique sense of excitement!) that the entire Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) section of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of PA (The Protz case) and stricken from the Act.  This, of course, stopped attempts by the insurance industry to get an IRE at all. Not able to live with themselves in a world without IREs…
We have previously discussed on this blog the difficulties in differentiating shoulder injuries to injured workers, noting that according to medical literature, several conditions can account for similar symptoms in a similar area.  Some recent articles have now shed light on some difficulties in diagnosing a concussion versus a whiplash injury, given the similar presentation between the two conditions. According to an article in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, since…
As we noted in our June 2020 update, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation began to (technically) allow limited in-person hearings, in counties which have been declared to be in the “Green” phase by Governor Wolf.  This announcement was made on June 12, 2020, to take effect June 19, 2020.  As a practical matter, we have yet to have an in-person hearing scheduled.  Regular hearings continue to operate by telephone conference, with video conference as…
As more counties across Pennsylvania reach the “Green” phase in the COVID-19 recovery process, attorneys involved in the PA workers’ compensation process were curious to know how this will impact the operations of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.  Yesterday, we were advised by the Bureau that, “(t)he designation of counties as ‘green’ does not automatically signal a return to in-person hearings.”  Instead, live, in-person hearings will only be permitted in limited situations.  This will be…
Once an injured worker in Pennsylvania establishes an entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits (when out of work, the benefits are known as “temporary total disability benefits” or TTD), the workers’ comp insurance carrier cannot just stop paying the benefits at its discretion.  This is one of the advantages of the workers’ compensation system in PA. Unless the injured worker settles the case, or agrees that he or she has returned to gainful employment at (or…
Yesterday, our attorneys participated in a webinar dealing with the continuing impact the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system.  We have already participated in hearings using Skype for Business, and understand some Workers’ Compensation Judges (WCJs) are experimenting with the WebX platform.  Zoom had been used on occasion, but apparently some security concerns have rendered that unusable for our purposes. Depending on the case and the situation, some attorneys, and…