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Recent Court Decisions Impacting Pennsylvania Workers' Comp - Part 1

So far in 2012 Pennsylvania Courts have decided several important workers' compensation cases. We will highlight some of these cases during the next two weeks.

One recently decided case is Lancaster General Hospital v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board. This case dealt with how a worker's average weekly wage is calculated.

The claimant was infected with Herpes Simplex in 1980 after a hospital patient sneezed on her, spraying one of her eyes. She got periodic eye infections throughout the years, but in 2007 she lost her vision in one eye entirely.

It was agreed by both sides that she should receive indemnity benefits for 275 weeks. The issue was whether the wage used should be what the woman was making in 1980 or in 2007. The court ruled it was considered a new injury, and the woman received benefits based on her 2007 pay rate.

Another case recently ruled upon was Giant Eagle Incorporated v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board. This case dealt with the issue of a judge's discretion to discontinue medical benefits.

Pennsylvania claimants can be asked by their employer or insurance carrier to have an independent medical examination once every six months. If a worker refuses, a court may order such examinations.

If the claimant does not abide by the court order, adjusters can request a suspension of benefit checks. This decision gives adjusters the additional power of requesting that a judge discontinue medical benefits.

Every workers' compensation case is unique. A lawyer can provide further guidance on how these cases may impact your workers' compensation claim.

Source: Claims Journal, "Pennsylvania Workers' Comp Case Update," Denise Johnson, July 30, 2012.

To learn more about workers' compensation claims visit our webpage on filing workers' compensation claims.

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