Commonwealth Court Squashes the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund’s Appeal

Lawyers who represent injured workers seeking benefits from the Pennsylvania Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund (the UEGF) are used to its delaying tactics, and its abject failure to pay benefits even in the clearest cases. So it is no surprise that the UEGF appealed a decision awarding benefits in a claim petition in which the Workers’ Compensation Judge found the injured worker’s physician credible, including the fact that claimant had not fully recovered from his work injury. (It is unusual, however, to see the UEGF spend any money, including for its own counsel, but that’s for another day.)

Anyway, it was nice to see the Commonwealth Court rule on February 12, 2014 that although the burden is on the claimant to establish a right to compensation and to prove all necessary elements to support an award, including the duration and extent of disability, a WCJ is free to rely on a claimant’s testimony in determining the length/extent of disability, provided there is competent medical evidence to support an award of ongoing disability. This isn’t profound new law, but at least it tells the UEGF that if it wants to split hairs it should choose its test cases a bit better. Click here to read the Commonwealth Court opinion in Pennsylvania Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Bonner and Fitzgerald).

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