An injured worker in PA is entitled to certain benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. We discuss these benefits in great detail here, on our website. Basically, these benefits include wage loss (called “indemnity”), medical, “specific loss” and fatal claim benefits. Given some pending legislation, we will be discussing the “specific loss” benefits today.
“Specific Loss” benefits encompass any type of benefit other than wage loss, medical or fatal claim. It includes loss of use of a body part and scarring, as was addressed in a previous blog post. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, only scarring of the head, face or neck is compensable. A Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) can award from zero to 275 weeks for the scarring, depending on the level of disfigurement. And, this payment is to be made only after the injured worker is no longer receiving total or partial disability benefits.
But, House Bill 930 would change all of that, if it were to become law. First, scarring would be compensable anywhere on the body, not just the head, face or neck. Which, of course, is logical, since most areas of the body can be seen by others and potentially cause embarrassment if there was some level of disfigurement. Second, the WCJ would be able to award up to 400 weeks, since significant disfigurement should entitle the victim to significant compensation. Lastly, House Bill 930 would allow the scarring award to be paid while the injured worker remains on total or partial disability. Which, again, makes sense, since the scarring does not wait to appear.
While we are thrilled and encouraged by the House passing House Bill 930, it is a long way from becoming “Law.” As we (of a certain age) learned on School House Rock, it must also be passed by the Senate, and then signed by the Governor.
What can you do to help? Well, that’s an easy one – tell your State legislators that you care about injured workers. Tell them that you want compassionate legislation, like House Bill 930, to become law. Hearing this from constituents is really the only chance this legislation has of becoming law. If you have questions about how to reach your elected officials, or questions about a workers’ compensation case of your own, feel free to contact us at 215-638-7500, or find us at bnlegal.com.