The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system grants substantial rights to workers injured during the scope of their employment. Powell Law protects workers who have suffered injuries in the workplace by helping them assert their rights to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. The attorneys and staff of Powell Law are experienced in helping injured workers cope with their injury and move forward and live full lives.
The first part of this blog addressed some background information on Impairment Rating Evaluations (“IRE”) and Pennsylvania’s system for evaluating an injured worker’s percentage of disability. Certain statutory language in Pennsylvania relating to IREs was declared unconstitutional since it conferred legislative authority on a non-governmental body. In the late fall of 2018, Pennsylvania enacted legislation that reinstated the provisions of the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act (the “Act”) related to Impairment Ratings.
It’s no secret that IRE examinations are a tool used by employers and insurance carriers to limit the wage-loss benefits of injured workers. With the recent changes to the law, an IRE allows employers and insurance carriers to limit its wage-loss liability to ten years.
The new provisions of Pennsylvania law relating to IREs specifically require impairment rating examinations to be based upon data contained in the 6th edition of the AMA Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The new law lowers the impairment threshold of total disability from fifty-percent (50%) to thirty-five percent (35%).
An employer or its insurance carrier may only request an IRE exam for an injured worker that has received wage-loss benefits for two years. The evaluating physician will then determine the injured worker’s percentage of disability. If the resulting finding, based on the 6th edition of the AMA guidelines, results in a disability rating of less than 35 percent, then the insurance carrier may cap partial benefits at 10 years. If the physician finds that an injured worker’s disability is above 35 percent, the worker may receive full benefits for his or her entire lifetime.
For 112 years, Powell Law has represented all types of workers in workers’ compensation cases. Call today to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney. Powell Law’s unsurpassed qualifications make it an obvious choice for representation in a workers’ compensation case in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. Contact Powell Law at call (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE.