Why Voting Matters – the General Assembly and Protz
We all hear that voting matters. Recent events highlight why voting matters for every worker in Pennsylvania and why, if the legislature reflected the values of injured workers, this blog post might be different. Tomorrow, Pennsylvanians vote for judges, and it’s important to vote for candidates who reflect your values; your vote matters.
Here are the details. In 1997, the legislature amended the Workers’ Compensation Act to allow insurance companies to reduce injured workers’ benefits through a process known as an impairment rating exam (IRE). It took 20 years, but through the efforts of our office and others, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the IRE process unconstitutional in an opinion known as Protz II.
So what did the legislature do? In 2018, it enacted a new IRE process, fixing the problems that made the entire process unconstitutional. As a result, the IRE is back and insurance companies are using it one again to reduce the benefits available to Pennsylvania’s injured workers. And one appeals court has now ruled that the amendments were legally enacted.
If we had elected more legislators sympathetic to the plight of injured workers, there would not have been a new IRE process, and workers would have more rights than they do now.
Just like that, we are back to a process that can be used to reduce benefits for the majority of injured workers. So when you go to vote, for judges, for legislators, or for anyone else, make sure you find out where they stand on issues that matter to you.
Our office regularly represents injured workers and fights hard to get them the benefits they deserve – even if the system is not always fair. Just give us a call at (610) 446-3457.