The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling this summer in the area of workers’ compensation. That ruling has effectively ended the process of forcing injured workers to undergo medical impairment evaluations whose results were governed by a set of American Medical Association guidelines that often produced poor results for workers seeking to qualify for total disability. This major change in the law is just one more example of why, when you’re facing a workers’ compensation issue, you need knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys working on your side who are up-to-date on all of the aspects of the law.
The plaintiff in that Supreme Court case, Mary Ann, worked as a hall monitor for a western Pennsylvania school district. One day, she fell while working and suffered a knee injury as a result of her fall. At first, the employer voluntarily paid her temporary total disability payments. Some time thereafter, the school district had the employee undergo an “impairment-rating evaluation,” a common step in the process. The doctor who examined the monitor gave her an impairment rating of 10%. The doctor, in making that conclusion, relied upon the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, as required by the law.
Since that rating number was below 50%, the school district sought to convert Mary Ann’s status to partially disabled, which would have capped the length of time when she would have received workers’ compensation payments.