Victory for Injured Workers in Pennsylvania August 15, 2017
By Michael W. McGurrin, Esq. and Gabriela Raful, Esq.
Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law changed significantly last month. In the landmark case, Protz v. Derry Area School District, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared a major section of workers’ compensation law to be unconstitutional.
You may have heard of the “500 weeks” or “10 year” limit in workers’ compensation cases. This time limit, imposed in 1996, limited workers’ compensation payments to only 500 weeks if an evaluation deemed the injured worker only “partially” disabled. Under this provision, insurance companies could send injured workers to an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). If the IRE determined that the impairment was less than 50%, then insurance companies would deem the person to be on “partial” disability instead of total disability and could stop paying benefits after 500 weeks expired.
In Protz, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined this section of the workers’ compensation law as unconstitutional and struck down the entire section. This decision may have a significant effect on your workers’compensation benefits depending on the status of your case:
- If you were scheduled to undergo the IRE, you do not need to attend that appointment.
- If your benefits were modified to “partial disability” based on an IRE exam that determined that you were less than 50% disabled and you continue to receive partial disability benefits you must file a reinstatement petition to change your status to “total” disability.
- If the 500 weeks expired, you may be entitled to have your benefits reinstated.
If you or someone you know is on “partial” disability because of the IRE or they were on partial disability because of an IRE and their payments stopped, contact us immediately so that we may fight for the benefits you deserve!
With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading, and Lancaster, Michael McGurrin and Gabriela Raful are attorneys at Galfand Berger. They represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, who are injured in the workplace. If you have questions about your workers’ compensation benefits, especially in light of this recent court decision, please call us at 800-222-8792 or contact us online for a free consultation.