Pennsylvania Workers Comp Petition Primer

This article is a Pennsylvania Workers Comp petition primer. There are many different petitions that can be filed in the course of a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case. This article discusses the common petitions filed. It is not an exhaustive list, because there are petitions that can be filed for other reasons but are much more infrequent.

Common petitions filed by the injured worker:

Claim Petition. Claim Petitions are petitions filed by an injured worker when the insurance carrier denies the claim. Claim Petitions typically allege wage loss and medical benefits. Claim Petitions are also filed when the insurance carrier accepts the claim as Medical Only, but the employee is alleging wage loss as well. In other words, the insurance carrier has agreed to pay medical expenses, but not wage loss benefits. The burden of proof on a Claim Petition is on the injured workers to provide all elements of a claim.  Fatal Claim Petition are filed when the work injury results in the death of an injured worker. Fatal Claim Petitions are filed on behalf of a widow, children, or others that can recover under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Act.

Reinstatement Petition. This petition is filed after wage loss benefits have been modified, suspended or terminated, but subsequently, the injured worker is suffering wage loss again as a result of the work injury. The burden of proof is on the injured worker to prove wage loss is related to the work injury.

Review Petition. A Review Petition is commonly filed by the injured worker for a few reasons. Most of the time it centers around description of injury. This happens when the insurance carrier may be denying medical treatment because they only accepted a “sprain” or “contusion” but the client has something more serious that may require surgery, such as a herniated disc or rotator cuff tear. A Review Petition may also be filed for unpaid medical bills, incorrect calculation of the average weekly wage, and other reasons. If the Review was filed by the injured worker, then the burden of proof is on the injured workers.

Penalty Petition. There are various reasons an injured worker may file a Penalty Petition. Frequently, these are filed when an insurance carrier unilaterally stops paying wage loss benefits, wage loss benefits are late and inconsistent, or settlement check has not been issued in a timely manner. They may also be filed because an insurance carrier failed to comply with the Act in various ways. Most of time they revolve around a payment issue. Again, this is not an exhaustive list. The burden of proof on a penalty petition is on the injured worker.

Common Petitions field by the employer:

Modification/Suspension: These petitions are filed by the employer when they believe an injured worker could return to work, but the injured worker does not return to work. These usually involved in independent medical examination and a subsequent job offer made to the injured worker. They could be based on the treating doctor restrictions. These petitions may also be based on the labor market survey process, failure to attend an IME appointment, or failure to undergo reasonable and necessary medical treatment for the work injury These petitions are a direct threat to the injured worker and they should immediately seek experienced workers’ compensation legal counsel. These petitions are seeking to reduce or suspend wage loss benefits. The burden of proof is on the employer.

Termination Petition. A Termination Petition is filed by the employer when they believe the injured worker has fully recovered from the work injury. This petition usually follows an IME in which the IME doctor provides a full recovery opinion. This petition seeks to cut off wage loss and medical benefits and effectively end the claim in its entirety. This is a direct threat to the injured worker. The burden of proof is on the employer.

Utilization Review Petition: A utilization review petition may be filed when the insurance carrier is challenging the reasonableness or necessity of the injured worker’s medical treatment.

Again, these are typical petitions we see often in worker’s compensation practice. This is not an exhaustive list of petitions or reasons petitions are filed. Pennsylvania workers’ compensation is a heavily litigated and complex process. It is imperative that if you are injured at work, that you contact Mooney Law for a free consultation. We are experienced, proven, and trusted throughout Pennsylvania for workers’ compensation. We have decades of experience and have recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of injured workers throughout Pennsylvania. Contact us today for a free phone, video, or in-person consultation at 717-200-HELP or 717-632-4656. You can also contact us by email to schedule the free consult at info@mooney4law.com. Finally, feel free to visit our website and follow out firm Facebook page. You can also follow my workers’ compensation Facebook page.

Mark Buterbaugh

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