One of the more frequently asked questions (FAQS) that I hear from injured workers seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in Pennsylvania involves the request by a workers’ compensation defense firm or insurance carrier to have the worker undergo a medical Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE).
At any time after receiving compensation benefits for more than two (2) years, employers and insurance companies can request these medical examinations, which may be in addition to the twice yearly medical evaluations that the Workers’ Compensation Act permits employers and insurance carriers to schedule.
The impact of an IRE is that if an examining physician opines that the work injury represents a whole body impairment of 50% or less, the total number of weeks for temporary total disability is no greater than 500 weeks. These evaluations can have a serious impact on workers’ rights for accidents in the workplace. Furthermore, industrial accidents at work rarely result in more than a 50% whole body impairment.
However, because of persistent challenges by work injury lawyers, a recent decision by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has ruled that insurance carriers and defense firms who select physicians who relied on the use of the 5th and 6th Editions of the AMA Guides to the Evaluations of Permanent Impairments to determine an injured workers’ level of impairment are in violation of the Workers’ Compensation Act. These evaluations should have been utilizing the 4th Edition of the AMA Guides, which is the latest edition approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
If anyone has recently undergone an Impairment Rating Evaluation, this is a good reason to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in Pennsylvania. Workplace accident attorneys offer free consultations.
Since workers only have sixty (60) days to challenge IREs, Monahan Law Practice urges all injured workers to call our offices at 610-363-3888 for a free consultation to determine if your rights have been violated.