Can CBD Oil Be Reimbursed by Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania?

CBD Oil, when prescribed by a doctor for a work-related injury, can be reimbursed by the workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. With the onset of medical marijuana and now CBD oil, court rulings and regulations are further clarifying the law regarding these alternative medical treatments. First, let’s take a look at the latest case law regarding medical marijuana. First, when reading the case law, MMA means Medical Marijuana Act. In 2023, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued a ruling on a Penalty…

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PA Supreme Court Reenforces Exclusive Provisions of Workers Comp Act

Pennsylvania workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy when a person is injured at work. The exceptions are quite narrow to sue the employer outside the remedies provided for within the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion further solidified the exclusivity provisions. In Franczyk v. Homes Depot, No. 11 WAP 2022, a Home Depot employee was bitten by a dog while performing work duties for Home Depot. The crux of the case revolves around the dog bite…

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PA Supreme Court further clarifies course and scope of employment and traveling employees

On November 17, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously held in Peters v. WCAB (Cintas Corporation) that an injured worker injured in a car accident after a work sponsored happy hour event was in the course and scope of employment, for workers’ compensation purposes. The Supreme Court overturned a Commonwealth Court decision from 2019, denying benefits due to being outside the course and scope of employment. Whether an employee is in the course and scope of employment is a fact…

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down IRE provisions in Workers Compensation Act

Attorneys across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have been waiting for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to clarify the status of the Impairment Rating Evaluation section of the Act, since the Commonwealth Court struck down provisions and remanded the case back to a Workers Compensation Judge.   The PA Supreme Court issued it’s decision as I sat in a workers compensation hearing around 11:30 AM this morning.   In Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District), No. 6 WAP 2016, the Court struck down the IRE provisions of the Act as unconstitutional in it’s entirety.

To help you understand, let me first explain the IRE process.  First, and foremost, it is a process used to limit injured worker wage loss benefits.  The injured worker is examined by a doctor chosen by the Commonwealth for what is called an impairment rating evaluation.  The IRE exam is solely used to establish a whole body impairment.  If the IRE examination finds an injured worker to have 50% or less whole body impairment from the work-related diagnoses, then wage loss benefits are capped to 500 weeks (about 9 1/2 years).   A request for an IRE examination by the insurance carrier cannot occur until an injured worker has received at least 104 weeks (2 years) of total disability compensation. Don’t confuse this examination with an IME  (defense) examination.  They are entirely different.  IRE examinations are nothing more than a tool for an insurance carrier to limit wage loss benefits of the injured worker.  Additionally, the provision is also unfair because it is nearly impossible to get a 50% or more whole impairment rating evaluation, outside completely catastrophic injuries. (more…)

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Pennsylvania Employee injured while running in parking lot not granted workers’ compensation

There are cases now and then that involve the argument of 'course and scope', meaning, did the injury occur in the course and scope of employment.  Over the years, Pennsylvania Courts have reduced gray areas of the law involving course and scope arguments.  Recently, the Commonwealth Court issued an opinion, in Quality Bicycle Products v. WCAB (Shaw), No. 1570 C.D. 2015 (Cmwlth Ct., 2016), further defining the elements of the course and scope test. In Quality Bicycle Products, a Claimant…

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PA Justice Michael Eakin resigns over porn emails

The porn email scandal in Pennsylvania has now claimed a second Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice.  Justice Michael Eakin, who has been under suspension by the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board, has retired amid the scandal.  Eakin was suspended back in December. The Judicial Conduct Board, an ethics panel for judges, in a complaint last year said Eakin, 67, a Republican, “detracted from the dignity of the office.” The 52-page complaint said messages Eakin sent or received included a video about busloads…

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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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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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Commonwealth Court vacates decision on abnormal working condition standard

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has vacated a Workers Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB) decision denying workers compensation benefits to an employee of store that was robbed.   By way of background, the injured employee was working at a store when the store was robbed.  The injured employee was assaulted as a result of the robbery and subsequently filed a workers compensation claim petition based on injuries sustained from the assault and mental distress from the robbery.   The Court agreed with the…

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