About Impairment Rating Evaluations (IREs) in Pennsylvania
Impairment Rating Evaluations – Attorney Dan Siegel Has Been in the Trenches From the Start
Impairment Rating Evaluations, known as IREs, are a mechanism created by the legislature in Harrisburg to limit the amount of wage loss benefits that the most severely injured Pennsylvania workers can receive. And no attorney has fought more against illegal IREs than Dan Siegel. There have been two IRE laws, and the first was knocked out by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which declared unconstitutional the impairment rating evaluation (IRE) provision in Section 306(a.2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The decision in Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District) meant that injured workers will no longer be subject to a cap on the length of wage loss benefits they receive. Attorney Dan Siegel of the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC authored the friend of the court brief on behalf of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice (formerly the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association).
After the Supreme Court knocked out the first IREs, the legislature re-enacted the law, with minimal changes. That law also raises a lot of Constitutional questions, and Dan Siegel has been fighting for the rights of his clients and for all injured workers again. He won’t give up.
How IREs work
Employers use the IRE process to limit the amount of wage loss benefits paid to injured workers. If you have been receiving total disability benefits for at least 104 weeks, your Employer may ask you to have an IRE. When the insurance company makes this request, you will be evaluated by a physician approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry to conduct IREs.
The result of an IRE will determine the type of benefits you will receive in the future. If the physician rates your impairment level equal to or greater than 35% based on Guidelines written by the American Medical Association, you will continue to receive your wage loss benefits without any change. According to the doctor’s evaluation, if you are less than 35% impaired, the Employer can and likely will change your status to “partial disability.” If your status changes to “partial disability,” you will continue to receive the same amount of weekly disability benefits, but they will be limited to no more than 500 weeks of future benefits.
Your Employer or its insurance company must notify you if your disability status changes as the result of an IRE. You will have a right to appeal the change to your benefits at any time during the 500 weeks of partial disability status.
All workers’ compensation matters are handled on a contingent fee basis, which means that you never pay a fee unless the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC gets you benefits or successfully prevents your employer from stopping your benefits. Give our office a call at (610) 446-3457, send an email, or fill out the form below.