PA Governor Wolf signs into law new Workers Comp IRE provisions

The Pennsylvania general Assembly passed legislation that reinstates the Impairment Ratings provision of the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act.  Governor Tom Wolf signed that legislation into law.  If you recall, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upended a section of the Workers Compensation Act by striking down provisions of the Act that addressed Impairment Ratings Evaluations.  You can review that here. 

The new provisions are slightly different.  Here is a brief summary.

The new provisions now specifically require impairment rating examinations to be performed under the 6th edition (second printing April 2009) of the AMA Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.  Additionally, the new provisions lower the impairment threshold of total disability from fifty-percent  (50%) to thirty-five percent (35%). 

With the new provisions, an employer’s insurance carrier may request an impairment rating evaluation exam for an injured worker that has been out of the workplace and on wage loss benefits because of an injury for two years.  If the physician — using the 6th edition of the AMA guidelines,  finds the injured worker to less than 35 percent disabled, then the insurance carrier can cap partial benefits at 10 years.  If the physician rates an injured worker’s disability to be more than 35 percent, the worker can receive full, lifetime benefits.  Essentially it is a way for an insurance carrier to limit wage loss liability to ten years.  

If you have been injured at work, do not go it alone.  Do not trust your workers compensation insurance carrier.  Their interested are entirely at conflict with your interests.  Instead, get a FREE CONSULTATION today to discuss your workers compensation case.  Call Mooney Law at 833-MOONEYLAW to be with me. 

If the physician — using guidelines set by the American Medical Association — finds that a worker was less than 35 percent injured at that point, the insurer can cap partial benefits at 10 years. If the physician rates a worker’s injury at more than 35 percent, the worker can receive full, lifetime benefits. 

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.