Impairment Rating Examination Reinstated by State Legislature

As followers of Abes Baumann know, our firm was successful in a constitutional challenge to the use of Impairment Ratings under the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to convert injured workers from total disability compensation to partial disability compensation. The conversion would put a limit on how long workers could receive wage loss benefits. In the landmark case of Protz v. WCAB, Abes Baumann’s attorneys successfully convinced the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the delegation to the AMA constituted an unconstitutional delegation of authority. The Act was therefore voided.

The Legislature scrambled to reinstate the use of Impairment Ratings to convert people to partial disability. Hearings were held at which Tom Baumann of Abes Baumann testified. Ultimately, the state legislature passed a bill using the Sixth Edition of the AMA Guides to evaluate injured workers. The percentage impairment rate necessary to keep people on total disability was lowered from 50% to 35%, largely because of the Protz decision. Therefore, injured workers can now be compelled to attend Impairment Rating Evaluations in order for insurance companies to convert people to partial disability.

Abes Baumann continues to challenge the constitutionality of the new law. The status of how that law is applied will continue to remain in flux for an extended period of time as challenges wind their way through the appellate courts. If any injured worker is being subjected to an Impairment Rating Evaluation, please call the attorneys at Abes Baumann for a free evaluation of your case.



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