PA Workers’ Compensation System Still Operating Remotely
We apologize for having such infrequent posts these past several months. Like much of society, things have slowed down since the pandemic arrived. There seem to be fewer appellate decisions coming down, and those that do seem more frequently to be unreported decisions. This makes it more difficult to find things to share with our readers.
Similarly, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication is continuing to have the parties litigate matters remotely, using either telephone or videoconferencing for hearings and depositions. Unlike family conversations, Zoom is a platform we cannot use, apparently due to security concerns. Instead, some Workers’ Compensation Judges (WCJs) use WebEx and others use Teams (what was Skype for Business).
The advantages of litigating cases remotely, obviously, are vast. We eliminate the need to travel to hearings in various counties across the State (we represent clients as far west as Carlisle, Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg, as far south as Delaware County and as far north as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area). Basically, we handles cases throughout the Southeastern, Northeastern and Central parts of PA.
By not having to travel to the hearing locations, we can handle cases far more efficiently. Indeed, we hope that when live hearings resume (perhaps in the Fall) that WCJs continue to use the remote process for status hearings. We obviously want to do the testimony of injured workers and witnesses live before the WCJs, so they can personally view each individual to assess credibility, but continuing to use the remote process for simple status hearings would seem beneficial for the parties, and the system as a whole. Truth be told, perhaps the biggest reason to continue virtual hearings is so I can only have to wear a suit from the belt up and continue to lounge in my sweat pants . . .