Commonwealth Court Reaffirms Residency Does Not Provide Jurisdiction in Workers Compensation

Recently, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, once again, addressed the issue of state jurisdiction over a workers compensation claim. In this case, a Pennsylvania resident was injured in an auto accident in New Jersey, while working for a trucking company based out of Alabama.  During the pendency of the claim, the Claimant was receiving workers compensation benefits through the state of Alabama.   When the Claimant applied for his position, he testified that he completed an online application at his home…

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Labor Market remains strong, jobless claims at 4 year low

The Labor Market continues to churn quite nicely, with initial jobless claims hovering at a four decade low.  The labor market strength is reaching full employment status. Applications submitted to state agencies for unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 to 271,000 in the week ended Nov. 14 from 276,000 in the previous period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The number of claims dipped to 255,000 in mid-July, the fewest since the 1970s. Steady demand has encouraged employers to hold the…

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Pennsylvania Workers Compensation and Holiday Parties

With the Holiday season rapidly approaching, it also means numerous Holiday parties, and that includes, Holiday parties through our place of employment.  Ultimately, you may hear of an employee getting injured while at a company Holiday party.  If an employee is injured at a company Holiday party, are they entitled to workers compensation benefits in Pennsylvania? The answer to that question is --- it depends.  These cases are often very fact sensitive and case law has identified factors to be…

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Democrats sweep PA Supreme Court and other State Judicial Races

It was a good night for Pennsylvania Democrats.  It was also a good night for Plaintiffs and Claimants. After a record setting $16 million was spent on state judicial races, the Democrats swept three Pennsylvania Supreme Court seats, taking a 5-2 majority control, and likely ensuring control of the state's high Court for the next decade.   Previously, the Republicans had control of the Supreme Court since 2010.  The record high spending on State Supreme Court seats set a national…

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No COLA increase for Social Security Recipients, including those on Disability

For the first time in five years, Social Security recipients, including those on Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security Supplemental (SSI) benefits, will not receive an increase cost of living adjustment.  Benefits cost of living increases are determined by the rate of inflation.  This year, the fact recipients will not receive a raise, is a direct result of lower gasoline prices. The inflation measure used by the Social Security Administration was down 0.6% for the 12 months that ended…

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PA Court: Issuance of a Medical-Only NCP in Workers Compensation differs from Acceptance and Subsequent Suspension of Benefits

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court recently distinguished between a Medical-Only Notice of Compensation Payable and an acceptance of a work injury and a subsequent Suspension of benefits, in Sloane v. W.C.A.B (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)  No 1399, C.D. 2014(Pa. Cmwlth. 2015). The relevant time lines are this:  An injured worker has three years after the date of the injury to file a Claim Petition to seek workers’ compensation benefits for the injury.  If a Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP) is issued…

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PA Commonwealth Court changes Impairment Rating Evaluations in Workers Compensation

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court invalidated Section 306 (a.2)1 of the Workers Compensation Act, as amended, finding the language to be an unlawful delegation of power to a private entity.  Let's first take a look at the language of Section 306 (a/.2)1. (a.2) (1) When an employe has received total disability compensation pursuant to clause (a) for a period of one hundred four weeks, unless otherwise agreed to, the employe shall be required to submit to a medical examination which shall…

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Fatal work injuries hold steady, Pennsylvania ranked 6th in fatalities

The United State Department of Labor and Industry released data today that confirmed 4,679 fatal injuries in the workplace in 2014.  That number is essentially the same as 2013, in which here were 4,585 fatal injuries, but 2014 saw more an increase in total work hours.  The rate of 3.3 fatalities to 100,000 full time equivalent was unchanged from 2013 to 2014. The areas of occupation that reported the larger increases are significant industries in Pennsylvania.  Those areas are:  Mining…

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HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!

Today is a day to honor the hard working, dedicated workers of this great Commonwealth and nation.  As an Attorney that represents injured workers, I wish many employers got to know the many employees I have come to represent over the years. Unfortunately, through my work, I too often see the opposite.  I see dedicated workers who suffer an unfortunate accident on the job that caused significant injury, pain, and go through significant physical, emotional, and financial pain.  Many times,…

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PA Court clarifies Construction Workplace Misclassification Act for Contractors

The Pennsylvania State Legislature enacted the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act in 2010 in an effort to clarify whether an injured party is deemed to be an independent contractor or an employee.  Most typically, we see these issues arise in the construction industry where a General Contractor believes they have hired a person as a Subcontractor.  I've had my share of these types of cases. The Misclassification Act defines three elements to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or…

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