The Impairment Rating Evaluation, Revisited

By: Sandra Weigel Kokal

As discussed in prior blogs, the Insurance Company may try to limit your benefits with the Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). An IRE is a physical examination where the doctor determines your level of disability. After receiving 104 weeks of benefits, the PA Workers’ Compensation Act requires an injured worker to submit to an IRE. If the doctor finds that your impairment is over 50%, you will continue to receive total disability workers’ compensation benefits. However, if the doctor finds your impairment is less than 50%, your status will change from total to partial disability.

A recent Supreme Court case, Duffey v. WCAB (Trola-Dyne, Inc.) has given doctors more direction on what is required in their IRE examinations. According to the Supreme Court decision, a doctor performing an IRE must consider ALL of the conditions that the doctor believes are related to the work injury, including any psychological injuries (such as depression or post traumatic stress disorder) that might occur as a result of the work injury. Therefore, even though the description of your injury on the Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP) might not include all injuries, the doctor must address all possible work related injuries. The Supreme Court stated that the doctor is required to render a detailed whole person evaluation in order to support any change in workers’ compensation benefits. This means the whole body evaluation cannot be withheld based on the employer’s description of your injury on the NCP. Your IRE could be found invalid if the doctor fails to perform a whole body impairment evaluation.

Since an IRE can limit your workers’ compensation benefits, the best way to protect yourself is to contact one of the attorneys at Abes Baumann to review the IRE and determine its accuracy.

Cautionary Tale of the Trojan Horse

By: James R. Burn, Jr.

Many of us are familiar with the tale of the Trojan Horse. Achilles and his soldiers, in order to defeat Troy and obtain access to their kingdom, created a Trojan Horse and wheeled it up to the gates of Troy. Inside of the horse, Achilles and his soldiers waited for the Trojans to wheel the Trojan Horse through their impenetrable walls. Once inside the walls, they slipped out and defeated their enemy.

We often advise our clients to beware of insurance companies bearing gifts. Insurance carriers and their adjusters will often display what would appear to be wonderful acts of kindness to injured workers. They may offer to have a nurse come with you to your examinations. They may tell you that they are looking out for your best interests and offer you what they say is a very fair settlement.

These “gifts” from insurance carriers are most times nothing more than a Trojan Horse. They try to earn your trust and allow you to lower your guard at which time you find yourself out of benefits or back to work before you are physically ready.

We caution injured workers from being fooled by insurance carriers and their Trojan Horse tactics. Please feel free to contact our firm and talk to an attorney for free about your workers’ compensation case and “friendly” insurance adjusters.

Workers’ Memorial Day

By: Douglas A. Williams


April 28, 2017 marked the 47th annual Workers’ Memorial Day. It is a day when the people of this nation are invited and encouraged to remember the sacrifices made by individuals who have died while working. At Abes Baumann, we believe this is a particularly meaningful day.

As attorneys who represent injured workers, we have the sad responsibility of litigating cases for the widows and widowers of workers who were killed on the job. We witness the unimaginable pain that is caused when a family member doesn’t return home at the end of the workday. We are inspired by the courage and resolve of clients who push through in the face of overwhelming grief. We are angered and outraged beyond words at the callous pettiness of many employers that could have prevented fatal accidents with just a little more money or attention to safety measures. Today, provides an opportunity for us to remember and honor those clients and their families who have touched our lives in so many ways.

This day provides an opportunity to reflect on how far we as a nation have come in advancing the goals of workplace safety. It is hard to imagine that less than 100 years ago children worked and died in coal mines. The production of many of the conveniences of modern society— skyscrapers, bridges, clothing, and many household chemicals—were once produced only at great risk to workers. We should remember with gratitude the people who have made those advances possible—civil servants of agencies such as OSHA; crusading politicians who have embraced workplace safety; writers and journalists who have cast bright light on the dark, dangerous corners of many workplaces; and, most importantly, the dedicated men and women of the labor movement.

Today is a day to recommit ourselves to insuring that we continue the trend of creating safer work places. Some politicians have recently proposed eliminating regulations that ensure workplace safety, reducing funding to agencies charged with protecting workers, and eliminating or reducing compensation to injured workers. We owe it to those workers who have died on the job—the workers whom we honor today—to resolutely oppose any efforts that would make the workplace less safe.


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