Commonwealth Court Declares Current IRE Process Unconstitutional in Workers’ Compensation Cases
September 18, 2015 — In Protz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Derry Area School District), No. 1024 C.D. 2014 (Pa.Cmwlth., September 18, 2015), a divided en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court ruled that the use of the 5th and 6th Editions of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairments to determine an injured worker’s level of impairment under the Workers’ Compensation Act is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority. Consequently, Impairment Rating Evaluations under Section 306(a.2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, 77 P.S. 511.2, must utilize the 4th Edition of the AMA Guides, i.e., the latest edition approved by the General Assembly.
Since 2011, our office has been challenging the Constitutionality of the IRE process, in particular the use of the 5th and 6th Editions of the AMA Guides on behalf of our clients/injured workers and on behalf of the law firms who retain us to assist with their appeals. This decision closely parallels the arguments we have repeatedly raised. Each of our cases has resolved without a final decision by the appellate courts. When you need assistance with complex workers’ compensation matters or other appeals, contact Dan Siegel. We help lawyers with matters such as this that keep them up at night.