Victory for Injured Workers – Supreme Court declares Impairment Rating Evaluations unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court in Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District) that the Impairment Rating Evaluation provisions of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act are unconstitutional. Without going into the legal reasoning what this means for the injured worker is that when you are on total disability that can continue on for an indefinite period of time until and unless the insurance company tries to establish that you have an earning capacity despite your work impairments or restrictions associated with your work impairments. This is a tremendous gain for injured workers. Now the insurance company must actually prove that you have only a partial disability in order to limit your disability claim to 500 weeks. For a review of the differences between total and partial disability I refer you to my prior blogs. Suffice it to say for this blog that total disability can go on indefinitely and partial disability can only go on for 500 weeks. Partial disability is in essence when you can return to work and/or do return to work with earnings that don’t quite equal what were you making before you were hurt and then you are entitled to receive two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages and your now restricted wages due to your work restrictions. Earnings for partial disability can also be imputed to you if the workers’ compensation insurance company can convince a Workers’ Compensation Judge through the testimony of a doctor and a vocational expert that you have an earning capacity of a certain amount. You do not have to actually receive any wages in this situation. This is the approach that most insurance companies use instead of actually trying to find you a job. There are many pitfalls to avoid if you are currently receiving workers’ compensation disability and my office can easily help you maneuver around these pitfalls in order to maximize your ultimate rights under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. There is no fee to discuss your case and you will at least know what your rights are.