This past week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down a very significant ruling which will protect the long-term rights of permanently injured workers in Pennsylvania.
The Supreme Court, in a case named for the injured worker Mary Ann Protz, held that the Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act is unconstitutional in its entirety.
In the past, every injured worker was required to undergo an IRE after 104 weeks of disability checks. If you were not 50% “whole body” impaired, an insurance company could stop your checks after 500 weeks.
In 2015, one of our Pennsylvania Courts partially ruled that the IRE section was not valid. But insurance companies continued to send our clients to IREs.
However, this past week the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that the use of an IRE is unconstitutional. This ruling declares the entire section of the Workers’ Compensation act invalid.
Bottom line: The 15 year journey – initiated by your Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Quatrinini Rafferty – means that an insurance company cannot limit an injured worker’s benefits through the use of an Impairment Rating Evaluation. It is has been written out of the Workers’ Compensation Act!
The Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Quatrinini Rafferty have already filed to throw out the old IRE rulings involving our clients and are taking the position that the Supreme Court’s ruling should be applied retroactively. What does that mean? Any injured worker whose benefits have been limited or stopped because of the IRE section should be able to petition a Workers’ Compensation judge to throw out the IRE exam and get put back on indefinite weekly benefits. (We do not believe that this case applies to injured workers who already settled their case.)
We are filing petitions, immediately, for all of our clients who are on a 500 week limit. If you think this important ruling applies to you, please give us a call.