The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act was last amended (at least in a significant way) by Act 147 in late 2006. As noted in a previous blog entry, these changes were very beneficial to the injured worker in PA. These amendments included the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund (to give PA injured workers a way to get workers’ comp benefits if their employer had no Pennsylvania workers’ compensation insurance), mandatory mediation, and Resolution Court.
Resolution Court is a process to make the settlement of PA workers’ compensation cases faster. Most workers’ comp cases in Pennsylvania are settled by Compromise & Release Agreement. This requires a hearing before a Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ), when the injured worker testifies that he or she understands and accepts the terms and conditions of the Compromise & Release Agreement. If convinced the injured worker does truly understand and accept the terms and conditions of the Compromise & Release Agreement, the WCJ will approve the settlement. Resolution Court is intended to have the hearing scheduled more quickly, so the settlement can be approved faster.
The State of Pennsylvania is divided by the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation into four Districts: Eastern, Southeastern, Central and Western. Each of these Districts then has an office in each County it services. For example, the Eastern District serves Lehigh County (with an office in Allentown), Bucks County (Bristol and Doylestown offices), Lancaster County (Lancaster), Montgomery County (Malvern and Dresher) and Berks County (Reading). The Southeastern District handles Philadelphia County (with offices in Center City Philadelphia and Northeast Philadelphia) and Delaware County (Upper Darby).
Each of these Districts has its own Judge Manager, and makes the rules for Resolution Court. In a letter distributed by the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in April, 2009, the Resolution Court Procedures were given for the counties of Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia.
You can read more about the settlement process in PA workers’ compensation cases on our website by clicking here.