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If you have a question about Workers Compensation or Social Security, you’ve come to the right place.

We have answered hundreds of questions our clients have asked us over the years right on this site.

Just look to the right and you’ll see a section that says “Have A Question?”. Just type your question in the box and click Search.

If we have an answer and other information related to your question on this site, it will show on the screen for you.

If we do not have your answer, it’s okay. Just pick up the phone and call us at 877-291-9675.


Kyle Kenny was employed as a maintenance supervisor in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (PA). He suffered a work injury to his back when he was moving 4 big and bulky mats that weighed over 100lbs. When he lifted the 4th mat, it jerked him badly. He sat down to take a break and started to feel a little back pain. Shortly after sitting down, his legs began to badly tingle and he was soon unable to move them. His co-workers called an ambulance for him and he was taken to the hospital. Kyle is currently paralyzed from the waist down. His work injury was accepted by Notice of Compensation Payable and his injury was described as “Lumbar Strain”. Often Workers’ Compensation Insurance carriers list a legally accepted injury simply as a “strain”. This is a tactic to minimize what disability and what medical expenses the workers’ comp carrier has to automatically pay.
15 months later, the workers’ compensation insurance company filed a Petition to Review Compensation Benefits claiming that the Paralysis was not the result of a Work Related Injury. Their claim was based on an Independent Medical Examination (IME) by Dr. Katz. This Petition sought to stop all benefits alleging he had recovered from the “strain.” Since he was no longer suffering from a strain, then compensation should be stopped unless he could prove from his motorized wheelchair that the paralysis was due to the injury. Ron Calhoon filed an Answer and the case was assigned to a workers’ compensation judge in Harrisburg, PA.
In support of their Petition, Defendant’s Insurance Carrier presented the testimony by Dr. Katz that injured worker’s Paralysis was not caused by the back injury suffered at work but rather was due to a viral condition that the paralysis would of happened at the very time no matter we he was at. Dr. Katz’s testimony was not found to be credible, competent or persuasive as the treating physicians’ testimony.
In defense of Petition to Review Compensation Benefits, the injured worker and his treating physicians, Drs. Edwards and Dr. Albert Skocik, testified and the Judge found their testimony credible. Dr. Edwards competently and persuasively testified that the small disc herniations shown on MRI were sustained during the work injury, which caused either a vascular tear resulting in hemorrhage or bleeding in the spinal cord with ischemia and a subsequent destruction of the cord; or a release of abnormal molecules from the disc, which triggered an autoimmune response and inflammatory system attack on the spinal cord. Dr. Skocik competently and persuasively testified that Claimant’s herniations noted on MRI were work-related and the cause of Claimant’s paralysis.
The Judge denied Defendant’s Petition to Review Compensation Benefits, finding that Kyle’s Paralysis was from his work injury. The Judge amended the description of injury to include Paralysis, and ordered Defendant to pay workers’ compensation medical benefits relating to Kyle’s Paralysis, the injured worker’s costs of litigation for defending the Petition to Review Compensation Benefits, and the attorney’s fees for unreasonable contest.



On August 8, 2008, Fred Howe (name changed for this blog) suffered a work injury to the left ankle while loading a lawn mower onto a trailer. He was employed by Strange & Associates. The workers’ compensation carrier, Selective Insurance Company, accepted liability for the work injury by issuing a Notice of Compensation Payable.

Due to the work injury, the injured worker developed symptoms and pain in his left ankle and leg, radiating up the leg. He also developed numbness and swelling, jerking in his sleep, headaches, and muscle spasms. Over time, these symptoms began spreading to the right side. Medical treatment included pain medications, a brace/splint, and spinal cord stimulator. These symptoms were aggravated by activity, rest, or inactivity. The injured worker required frequent hospitalizations due to these symptoms. He also received medical treatment from his family doctor, Dr. Charles Lowe. Dr. Lowe felt FH suffered from reflex sympathy disorder (RSD) and/or complex regional pain syndrome. In early 2013, different living arrangements were being pursued to help with self-care and to avoid hospitalizations. He had also developed a sore on the back of his left thigh, which would not heal and required home health assistance.

In January, 2013 we filed a prospective Utilization Review Request, asking that an independent doctor decide whether nursing home care would be appropriate treatment for his work injury. Dr. Paul Doghramji of Margroff Review Services, stated that patients with RSD are known to become highly dependent on others for their activities of daily living, and need an assisted living environment. Dr. Doghramji felt that placement in a nursing home was reasonable and necessary due to Dr. Lowe’s documentation of great difficulty in performing activities of daily living. Winning the prospective utilization review grants him legal pre approval of the treatment and the treatment must immediately be paid for by the workers’ compensation carrier when the treatment commences. Even if the carrier appeals the unitization review determination, they must pay for the treatment while the case is on appeal.

If you would like to speak personally to us about your Pennsylvania or Harrisburg work related accident or injury, or benefits, please fill out our confidential online contact form or call Calhoon & Associates toll-free at 1-877-291-WORK (or 9675). Whether you wish to begin the claims process, or are encountering problems and concerns while on workers’ compensation, Calhoon & Associates will fight to obtain the benefits you are entitled to receive, guide you in the right direction, and obtain a fair settlement if that is in your best interest. There is no fee for us answering your questions or advising you of your rights so you head in the right direction.


Did you know that the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry recently did a study on the link between certain careers, an employee’s obesity and potential to be a smoker? Truckers, movers, firefighters and policemen and women are the most likely to be obese. Doctors, teachers and scientists are the healthiest. The purpose of this study was to identify a need of workplace obesity prevention programs. The hope is that once these target professions are identified, this information can be used for prevention purposes. Interestingly enough, truckers were also amongst the highest percentage of employees that smoked. It is felt that truckers are influenced by the availability and convenience of food choices that they have available to them while working.

The full study can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/13_0219.htm

Obesity and smoking can also be factors in your ability to fully recover from a work injury. If you were injured at work and still have not recovered from that injury, contact an experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation attorney right away. Defense attorney and IME doctors have recently been trying to blame ongoing disability on these factors in efforts to terminate benefits. Steps can be taken to help avoid these tactics before they happen.


As workers’ compensation attorneys who only represents injured workers, we have had numerous clients call in a panic because brick and mortar pharmacies would not fill their prescription due to the fact that the insurance adjuster was not available to approve it or the adjuster denied pre approval for whatever whimsical dishonest reason they happen to come up with that day. Even adjuster’s admit the prescription cards issued by the workers’ compensation carriers are not worth the paper or plastic they are printed on. For those that do not use Injured Workers’ Pharmacy, www.iwpharmacy.com, this leads to unnecessary stress, denied treatment or high out of pocket expenses.
Some treating doctors have taken this issue into their own hands by issuing the necessary medications themselves right out of their own office. The carriers resent this practice as they have no ability to block treatment and argue that because the prices of these prescriptions are not regulated, physicians are taking advantage and charging more than a prescription dispensed by a pharmacy. State Rep. Marguerite Quinn introduced a bill to limit physician dispensing last year. This legislation passed in the House and was amended by a Senate committee. This amended legislation was recently voted on and passed in both the House and Senate on October 22, 2014 and is now on its way to Governor Corbett for his signature.
HB 1846 will effectively stop physician dispensing of all prescriptions to their workers’ compensation patients. Ultimately, it requires physicians to dispense only a limited day supply (depending on what type of drugs are being dispensed) of medications and must provide the original NDC code of the manufacturer drug so that the cost may not exceed 110% average wholesale price of the original drug. The dispensing of the medications by physicians is limited to a one-time supply and is limited to the first health care provider. No additional health care providers can seek reimbursement for drugs dispensed under the same workers’ compensation claim. Over the years, the legislature has expanded the “treat only with company doctor requirement” from a few days to 90 days. Now, they want to decide where an injured worker can obtain medications for the life of their injury.
The passage of this bill is troubling because not only was it quickly passed, but it is government interference with an injured workers’ right to obtain needed medical treatment.


Injured worker Betty Thompson was employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, Selinsgrove Center, as a licensed practical nurse for seven (7) years. On September 30, 2012, she suffered a work injury to the right hip and low back when she slipped and fell on a wet floor at work. This work injury was accepted by Notice of Compensation Payable described as “right hip and low back strain”. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier is Inservco. Listing the legally accepted injury as merely a strain is an often used (almost universally used) tactic to minimize what disability and what medical expenses the workers’ comp carrier has to automatically pay. It can take well over a year for a judge to make a workers’ compensation carrier responsible for medical treatment not clearly related to the accepted “strain” injury (i.e., surgery, injections, etc.)

On June 25, 2013, Defendant Inservco filed a Termination Petition to stop workers’ compensation benefits as of April 12, 2013 based on an Independent Medical Examination (IME) by Dr. Richard G. Schmidt. This Petition was assigned to the a workers’ compensation judge sitting in Williamsport, PA.

In support of their Petition, Defendant Inservco presented the testimony of Dr. Richard G. Schmidt, and the Judge found his testimony not credible that injured worker was fully recovered from the work injury.

In defense of the Termination Petition, the injured worker and her treating physician, Dr. Matthew Eager, testified and the Judge found their testimony credible. Dr. Eager testified that injured worker has had continuous complaints of right sacroiliac joint, posterior hip and right leg pain and right leg numbness, that he imposed sedentary restrictions of no lifting over 10 lbs., that Betty was not fully recovered from the work injury, and that the description of injury should include right sacroiliitis, right trochanteric bursitis and lumbar spondylosis with right lower extremity radicular irritation. Betty testified that, since the work injury, she has experienced right leg and right buttock area pain aggravated by walking or sitting, and that she cannot perform her LPN duties as pushing a cart, bending and walking could aggravate her symptoms. Dr. Schmidt’s testimony was not found to be credible, competent or persuasive as the treating physician’s testimony.

The Judge denied and dismissed Defendant Inservco’s Termination Petition, finding that Betty was not fully recovered from her work injury. The Judge amended the description of injury to include right hip bursitis and sacroiliitis, and ordered Defendant to continue paying workers’ compensation wage loss benefits, medical benefits, and ongoing attorney fees; along with the injured worker costs of litigation for defending the Termination Petition.


What follows is a guide on the basics of obtaining payment for medical bills in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation matters. Medical billing in workers’ compensation matters can be an unfamiliar and uncertain task. What is the process? What forms are to be used? What happens if payment is not timely or is denied? What are the time limits? Some common complaints are: workers’ compensation never pays on time, denies submissions, fails to pre-approve treatment, or just ignores the bill. Sometimes, it just seems easier to avoid dealing with workers’ compensation. However, this book is here to help you. Knowledge makes all the difference.

When a patient first presents to you stating they suffered a work injury, you must get some crucial information from them. Ask them for their employer’s name, address, and phone number. Next, ask for the workers’ compensation carrier’s name, address, and phone number. You will also need the claim number and the date of injury.

The patient should be asked to provide their Notice of Compensation Payable, Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable or a Workers’ Compensation Judge’s award recognizing the work injury. These documents will provide all of the above crucial information and, more importantly, confirm that the patient has an accepted workers’ compensation injury.

If the injury has been accepted, workers’ compensation pays for all reasonable, necessary and work-related medical treatment by “practitioners of the healing arts”. The Notice of Compensation Payable issued by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier describes the injury under the heading “Description of Injury” and “Body Parts” on the top left side of the form. Please keep in mind that workers’ compensation is only required to pay for treatment which falls within the “Description of Injury” and “Body Parts”. For example, if the injury is described as a cervical strain, workers’ compensation must pay for treatment to the neck. However, if the treatment being billed to workers’ compensation is to the right shoulder, workers’ compensation is not automatically responsible for payment. Some exceptions exist, such as when a test is performed to another body part to rule out causes for the work injury or pre-surgical testing. Knowledgeable counsel can help when such questions arise. Further, if the patient’s doctor feels that a condition not described on the Notice of Compensation Payable is work related, there are legal methods available to have the treatment paid for by workers’ compensation.

If the treatment or injury is denied as not work related, you may bill the patient’s private health insurance, Medicare or other government-sponsored health insurance. This is prudent for many reasons; most importantly, it protects the patient’s health and workers’ compensation claim by allowing them to continue treatment during denial by workers’ compensation. Besides lower reimbursement rates, drawbacks to billing sources other than workers’ compensation include:

• Unnecessary and costly co-pays to patient;
• Unnecessary and costly deductibles to patient; and
• Maximum private health insurance benefits attained prematurely, precluding further treatment for any condition over the patient’s lifetime.

If a medical bill is denied by workers’ compensation as not work related, a provider can then bill other insurance. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued two (2) memorandums regarding the Insurance Department’s regulations governing the use of exclusions for workers’ compensation insurance in accident and health insurance (attached). These regulations require health insurance companies to pay claims if the workers’ compensation insurance company refuses coverage. If the health insurance company refuses to pay “because the treatment is work-related,” a letter enclosing these two (2) memos almost always causes quick payment. If private health insurance and/or government-sponsored insurance is billed during the course of litigation, in the event of a favorable Decision, workers’ compensation will be required to repay the private health insurance. Sometimes this is done by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier issuing a check directly to the private health insurance. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier can also make payments directly to the medical provider, who, in turn, will need to reimburse the patient’s private health insurance accordingly.

After the patient has been seen by the physician and a HCFA 1500 or UB has been created, you need to fill out an LIBC-9. Remember, this is a two-sided form even though you are only filling in one side. You must then mail the bill, LIBC-9, itemized bill, and medical records to the workers’ compensation carrier. There are no exceptions to this rule. An itemized statement or standard billing summary means nothing to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier! The itemized statement or billing summary are not sufficient requests for payment, and can legally be ignored. Compliance with the requirement that a completed LIBC-9 be sent with the bills is a prerequisite to the carriers’ obligation to process and pay the medical bill!


In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation carriers have thirty (30) days (plus 6 days for mailing) to respond to a billing. If the response is late, compensation carriers have to pay 10% per annum interest. They can respond in the following manners:

2.Denial (If denied as not work related, contact attorney);
3.Filing a utilization review request; or

FEE REVIEW (Amount of Payment)

If the carrier does not respond in the allotted amount of time or a payment amount is incorrect, you can then file a fee review. The Fee Schedule is on the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Website at http://www.dli.state.pa.us. Fee Review is the procedure to review the amount of the payment. This can be due to improper downcoding. If the carrier does not strictly comply with the downcoding procedures mandated by Section 127.207 of the regulations, the provider is entitled to reimbursement for the actual charges. A Fee Review can also be used to challenge the timeliness of payment as can a penalty petition.

Fee reviews must be filed within ninety (90) days of the original bill date OR within thirty (30) days after a denial or disputed payment is received, whichever occurs later. These time limits are strictly enforced and any fee review filed late will be dismissed.

The Department of Labor and Industry, Healthcare Services Review Section governs these reviews. Only a medical provider can file a Fee Review. A tutorial is available at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation website at www.dli.state.pa.us, Workers’ Compensation Medical Treatment Information, Healthcare Services Form Tutorials. FAQS are also available at www.dli.state.pa.us, Workers’ Compensation, FAQS, Healthcare Services Review FAQS. You may call the PA Workers’ Compensation Hotline at (717) 772-4447 to obtain a Fee Review form for filing.

It is important to remember that to file a fee review you must fill out a LIBC-507 (see above sample form) and send it with a copy of the original bill, itemized bill, LIBC-9 (with original bill date) and medical records. Include a summary of why you are filing the review. Send a copy of the packet to the compensation carrier and keep a copy for your records. The original gets mailed to the Bureau of Workers Compensation. They will notify you of a decision within thirty (30) days of receipt of all necessary documents. The party unsatisfied with the fee review determination may file an appeal by filing a Request For Hearing To Contest Fee Review Determination (see Form on next page). The appeal must be filed within thirty (30) days of the administrative determination and will be assigned to a hearing officer who will issue a decision within ninety (90) days of the close of the evidentiary record. Further appeal will now be assigned to a workers’ compensation judge.

UTILIZATION REVIEW (Reasonableness & Necessity)

If the workers’ compensation carrier has filed a Utilization Review (UR), you should check to be certain that the UR was filed within thirty (30) days of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier’s receipt of the medical bill(s) being requested for review. It can be argued that the failure of the carrier to timely challenge a bill waives their right to challenge the reasonableness and necessity of the treatment.

When requested by the assigned utilization review organization (URO), you must do the following:

1. Timely provide your records to the URO!;
2. Insist on a telephone conference with the UR’er;
3.Encourage the patient to continue reasonable treatment; and
4.Encourage the patient to provide a written statement to the UR’er when requested.

When the medical provider is requested to provide medical records to the URO, the URO shall provide reimbursement to the medical provider for copying costs at the rate specified by Medicare, along with payment for actual postage costs. Also, reproduction of radiographic films (x-rays, MRI’s, CT Scans, etc.) shall be reimbursed at the usual and customary charge. (See Section 127.463(a) and (b) of the Rules and Regulations governing actions under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act)

If the UR determines that the treatment was unreasonable and/or unnecessary, contact the Attorney to file an appeal of the UR determination.

The appeal will be a brand “new” review of the treatment by a Workers’ Compensation Judge. Also, most importantly, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will now have the BURDEN to prove that the treatment was unreasonable and unnecessary. The petition to review the UR determination will be assigned to a workers’ compensation judge and will not be binding on the judge.

How long does the UR process take? When a UR request if filed, it takes about five (5) days for the Bureau to assign the petition to a URO. The URO will then collect the medical records and is prohibited from giving opinions on causation. A request for UR shall be deemed compete upon receipt of the medical records from the provider, or thirty (35) days after the notice of assignment of the review to a URO, whichever comes first. The provider will be given thirty (30) days to provide the records. Failure of the medical provider to timely provide records will cause the treatment to be denied as not reasonable and necessary! Filing an appeal will not help. Once deemed completed, the URO has thirty (30) days to render their decision.

If a provider, an employee or an employer disagrees with the UR determination, they can file a request for review of the UR determination. The medical provider is not dependant on the injured worker filing an appeal.
The medical provider has standing to file the appeal.

We represent many treating doctors who hire us directly to file the appeal and to get their bills paid after a negative UR determination is issued.


In the event that you receive NO RESPONSE to your original submission of your bill(s) to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier or receive some excuse like “the check is in the mail,” then you should immediately contact the Attorney, who will review the matter to determine which of the following petitions should be filed:

1. FILE PROSPECTIVE UR: a quick and effective method of obtaining pre approval to guarantee payment of medical bills before the treatment is even rendered (don’t believe the myth that there is no such thing as pre-approval in PA workers’ comp);
2. FILE REVIEW PETITION for the payment of medical bills and an additional 10% interest on the unpaid bills;
3. FILE PENALTY PETITION requesting the additional payment of up to 50% penalties for the carrier’s violation of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act by delaying payment of medical bills.

A review petition is needed when the treatment is for a condition not clearly related to the injury accepted in the Notice of Compensation Payable. A Penalty Petition can be filed when payment is not made within thirty (30) days, or if payment is received well past the 30-day time frame. A Penalty Petition is most often used when workers’ compensation ignores medical bills which are properly submitted and clearly related to the work injury. When filing a Penalty Petition, the medical bill must be clearly work-related, i.e., the medical documentation that was submitted with the bill clearly identifies treatment to the injury/body part described on the Notice of Compensation Payable or Judge’s Award.

Often times the mere filing of the Penalty Petition will be enough to effectuate payment from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If not, a Judge will issue a Decision as to whether the workers’ compensation insurance carrier failed to make timely payment and, if so, order payment to be made. The Judge can also order penalties to be paid by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, up to 50% of the outstanding medical bills plus 10% interest.

Lastly, if a bill is denied because it was within the first ninety (90) days of treatment and the doctor is not on the company posted list, call us to see if any of the many exceptions apply. Usually, one does and the compensation carrier must pay the bill. It is a myth that injured workers cannot treat with a doctor of their own choice during the first ninety days.


Payment of medical bills under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation system can be confusing and complicated. It is the desire of the attorneys at Calhoon & Associates that this guide book, the flow chart and the sample forms contained herein will assist you in an organized and simplified fashion to collect your medical bills in an almost hassle free fashion. However, hassles are bound to occur. When they do, feel free to contact the attorneys at Calhoon & Associates to assist you with this process and achieve the ultimate goal of providing medical care to your patients and getting your BILLS PAID.
No part of this blog may be copied or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the express written consent of Calhoon & Associates, P.C. Comments in this blog are not intended to provide legal advice. This is a guide. For specific legal advice on your case, you should call a reputable and Board Certified workers’ compensation lawyer. It should never cost you any money to consult with such a lawyer. We can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-877-291-9675 or by emailing rcalhoon@pa-workers-comp-lawyers.com


Ron was my workers comp lawyer for over a year. 5times my check was delayed on 3 of those occasions ron had gotten my claims person to overnite me a check. other 2 had it in mail in 2 days. every question or concern I had, it was either answered or addressed within 24 hours. In the end, Ron got me more than my wife & myself were willing to settle for. THANK YOU RON ! Henry 10-9-14


We Couldn’t have…

Tom Cook was very professional and responded quickly to our questions. Helped navigate us through the legal process which we couldn’t have done on our own. Easy to work with and contact with questions. Robert- Harrrisburg


The injured worker KG was employed by JDB Construction as a trade carpenter, working construction framing houses. On December 6, 2006 he slipped and fell into a ditch and herniated two (2) discs. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier is State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF), who accepted liability for this work injury. The injured worker KG underwent back surgery in 2007, along with back and hip injections. His treating physicians are Dr. Robert Boyer, a chiropractor in Chambersburg, PA, and Dr. Curtis Goltz, an orthopedic surgeon in Harrisburg, PA The injured worker KG has been treating with Dr. Boyer for many years.
On November 17, 2011 The injured worker KG settled his wage loss benefits for a fair and reasonable lump sum wherein Defendant SWIF remained responsible for payment of ongoing, work-related medical treatment for the rest of KG’s life. On September 11, 2012, a Utilization Review Determination found Dr. Boyer’s chiropractic treatment to be reasonable and necessary. It was not appealed. Workers’ comp still refused to pay the medical bills.
We filed a Penalty Petition for Defendant SWIF’s failure to pay Dr. Boyer’s medical bills since March 2013. The injured worker KG and Dr. Boyer testified, and the Judge found their testimony credible. The injured worker KG testified that Dr. Boyer has been providing chiropractic treatment for several years and that the treatment helps with stiffness and enables him to do things. Dr. Boyer testified that he has been providing chiropractic treatment for several years to maintain back function, and that Defendant SWIF had been paying the medical bills.
The judge granted The injured worker’s KG”s Penalty Petition. The Judge found that Defendant SWIF unilaterally stopped paying the injured worker’s medical bills. The Judge ordered Defendant SWIF to pay all of the medical bills plus fifty (50%) percent penalties to the injured worker KG totaling $1,729.00, unreasonable contest attorney fees of $2,801.25, and costs of litigation of $850.10.


In August 2014, a Miami trial court judge ruled that the exclusive remedy provision of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act unconstitutional as a matter of law. The exclusive remedy provision prevents an injured worker from
suing for a work injury and limits recovery to workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation caps damages and does not allow any recovery for pain and suffering or lost health and pension benefits.
Circuit Judge Cueto found that the Act was “no longer an adequate exclusive replacement remedy in place of common-law tort, as required by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or by the Florida Constitution.”

He observed that the act “became unconstitutional as an exclusive remedy in stages,” as legislative amendments “decimated” the benefits provided through the years.
During this process, Cueto said, “fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution were eviscerated by merely enacting a statute and relying upon the police power of the state for validity.”
As it stands now, he opined, the act “fails miserably” in promoting the public morals, health, safety and welfare of the citizenry of Florida, and plainly does not pass constitutional muster.
Cueto said, the “benefits provided by the act should have increased substantially to account for the change in the value of the trade; i.e., allegedly fast, sure and adequate payments in exchange for the tort remedy that was
cumbersome, slow, costly and under which it had been legally difficult for injured workers to prevail.”
Lawmakers again tinkered with the act in 2003, to eliminate the payment of any compensation for a permanent loss of wage-earning capacity that is not total in character, Cueto noted. And even if the loss is total, then the act, as amended, cuts off benefits once the worker hits 75 or after receiving benefits for five years.
The amended version of the act also apportioned medical care expenses for workers between an employer and the worker, and if the worker can’t afford his share of the cost, then the worker can’t get treated, Cueto said. Unlike many states, claimants in Florida must make co-pays when receiving medical treatment for their workplace injuries.
Cueto reasoned that if the Act would “provide full medical care and some compensation for total or partial disability, it remains constitutional.” But as it now stands, Cueto said, “it is inadequate as an exclusive replacement remedy for all injured workers.”


If you’ve received a form in the mail titled “Employee’s Report of Benefits” (LIBC-756), “Employee’s Report of Wages” (LIBC-750), or “Employee’s Verification of Employment, Self-Employment or Change in Physical Condition” (LIBC-760) you might be confused and suspicious.
The first thing you should know is that these are standard forms. Your employer or their Pennsylvania (PA) Workers’ Compensation Insurance company can send you these forms every six months. These forms are rather straight-forward and ask you to report any wages you’ve earned while collecting or seeking workers’ comp, ask if you have been employed or self-employed at any point while collecting or seeking compensation benefits, and ask if you’ve received any Social Security, pension, severance, or unemployment benefits during the period you have been collecting or seeking Pennsylvania WC benefits. If you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits do not report them as Social Security Old Age benefits as this will cause the carrier to take an imporper credit against your weekly compensation. These forms may also require the employee to report any change in physical condition that could affect his or her entitlement to TTD benefits. This is an easy way for the Insurance company to gather information about your case.
These forms require that you complete them and return them to your insurance company within thirty (30) days. Failure to complete these forms and return them within these 30 days allows the insurance company to file a Petition to Suspend your workman’s compensation wage loss benefits. The insurer can suspend your benefits until the proper forms are completed and submitted. Additionally, if an employee’s benefits are suspended due to a failure to timely return these forms and the employee later fills out and returns the forms, the employee’s benefits will start back up, but the employee will be unable to get retroactive benefits the portion of time that coincides with the suspension. This is another reason why it is very important to complete, sign, and send the forms back within the 30 day time period.
An injured worker must take care to ensure that the information being provided on these forms is complete and accurate. If a worker dealing with a work-related injury knowingly, with intent to defraud, fails to make the required reports or gives false or misleading information, he may be liable under the fraud provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
It is very important that these forms are filled out on time and filled out accurately. For this reason, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before trying to fill out a form that you might not understand. If you have any questions, we can answer them for free.


My opponent didn’t stand a chance against him.

I chose to hire Ron Calhoon on the recommendations of a doctor. I am so glad I did. From the first time we talked till the day we got news we won the case he fought for me. Between e-mails, phone calls and letters I was always in the know of what was happening. All my questions were answered in a timely manner.Ron is very knowledgeable about Workman’s compensation issues. My opponent didn’t stand a chance against him. Sonya B. Bloomsburg, PA


Mr. Calhoon was contacted about a settlement that Worker’s Compensation was offering. I knew nothing about his firm except what was on his web site. Mr. Calhoon was courteous and respectful from the first contact. Mr. Calhoon explained my options thoroughly and answered any questions I had. After taking my case, Mr. Calhoon processed the settlement paperwork quickly and efficiently. I received a check in the amount agreed to and there were no problems with the paperwork, the courts or the compensation lawyers. The most surprising detail is that I am in Texas and Mr. Calhoon is in Pennsylvania and I felt as comfortable as if we were in the same state. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Calhoon’s firm for worker’s compensation cases.


Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act and applicable case law, a non-U.S. citizen who is not eligible to lawfully work in the United States (undocumented worker) is permitted to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured at work. However, in order to continue to be entitled to wage loss benefits, the work injury must totally disable the employee from working. Once an undocumented worker is medically released to return to some type of work, wage loss benefits can be stopped without an Employer showing job availability.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that when an injured worker invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when being questioned at a hearing regarding his citizenship status, the court cannot assume that the injured worker is not permitted to be employed in the United States. The courts have consistently held that a party cannot meet its burden of proof in a civil proceeding merely by relying on a party’s failure to testify. Such an “adverse inference” is not evidence. Without independent evidence (proof of citizenship or residence status or I-9) supporting that a claimant is an undocumented worker, an Employer is not relieved of its burden to show earning power or job availability to suspend worker’s compensation wage loss benefits.


Melissa was very helpful

Melissa was very helpful and informative through out my whole case. Listens to what you have to say and gives you options and informs you of things you may have never thought about. Notified me anytime an offer changed. She knows her stuff. I would recommend her to anyone with a workers comp case. – Craig


Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act and applicable case law, a non-U.S. citizen who is not eligible to lawfully work in the United States (undocumented worker) is permitted to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured at work. However, in order to continue to be entitled to wage loss benefits, the work injury must totally disable the employee from working. Once an undocumented worker is medically released to return to some type of work, wage loss benefits can be stopped without an Employer showing job availability.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that when an injured worker invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when being questioned at a hearing regarding his citizenship status, the court cannot assume that the injured worker is not permitted to be employed in the United States. The courts have consistently held that a party cannot meet its burden of proof in a civil proceeding merely by relying on a party’s failure to testify. Such an “adverse inference” is not evidence. Without independent evidence (proof of citizenship or residence status or I-9) supporting that a claimant is an undocumented worker, an Employer is not relieved of its burden to show earning power or job availability to suspend worker’s compensation wage loss benefits.


Whether rig rental and other per diem allowances can be included in an average weekly wage calculation is a seldom asked question. Other than board and lodging, they cannot be included, unless it can be shown that the money was available for “personal use”.

Section 309(e) of the Act defines the term “wages”. Board and lodging (otherwise known as per diem), gratuities, incentives, vacation pay, sickness and accident benefits, and bonuses are considered wages, but fringe benefits are not. Wages are further defined as: “Compensation given to a hired person for his or her services, based on time worked or output of production, it is a term that should be broadly defined to include periodic monetary earnings and all compensation for services rendered without regard to the manner in which such compensation is computed. Mullen v. WCAB, 945 A.2d 813 (2008).

An Average Weekly Wage (AWW) calculation is based only on “wages”. The PA Workers’ Comp Act does not provide for non-monetary renumeration, other than board and lodging, to be included in the AWW calculation. This would include mileage reimbursement and business expenses that are not available for personal use and which renumeration is being used for the item covered by the expense. Glinka v. WCAB, 462 A.2d 909 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1983). A presumption exists that a business expense is not included in the AWW calculation. To overcome the presumption, a claimant must produce a federal tax return showing that the item reimbursed was not listed as a deduction or depreciated. Glinka.

Adams v. WCAB, 527 A.2d 625 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1987) holds that reimbursement for a chain saw rental and fuel costs are not considered wages for AWW calculation purposes. On his income tax return, claimant deducted a depreciation allowance for the saw and fuel costs and paid income tax on the balance he received from the equipment rental. The Court held that since Section 309(e) of the Act is silent regarding payments for rental of equipment, it must be concluded that the legislature intended to exclude it from wage computation.


Claimant Nancy Palusi (the name of our client has been changed for purposes of this article) was employed by H.E. Rohrer as a bus driver. On January 13, 2012, she slipped and tripped off a bus step, breaking her left leg and landing on her left side, also hitting her left elbow and shoulder upon landing. She was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier is American Zurich Insurance Company and was found liable for this work injury. Nancy was initially off work and received total disability wage loss benefits, and eventually returned to work modified duty and was entitled to weekly partial disability benefits because she was earning less per week in gross wages as compared to her pre injury Average Weekly Wage.
Because the carrier refused to pre approve the medical treatment, we filed a Utilization Review Request in April 2013 to address the reasonableness and necessity of a solean sling release, post tibial nerve, tarsal tunnel release and evacuation of sinus tarsi surgery recommended by Dr. Seth Seber, DPM. Dr. Francine Williams, DPM performed the Utilization Review, and felt that the information was limited in Dr. Seber’s medical records and that t Nancy’s negative test results did not provide enough information to find that the surgery was warranted or beneficial for Claimant. Dr. Williams further felt that normal EMG findings do not support a diagnosis of nerve entrapment. Claimant appealed this Determination by filing a Petition for Review of Utilization Review Determination.
Judge Wayne Dietrich in Harrisburg PA heard the Petition. The URO Determination of Dr. Francine Williams was submitted into evidence by Defendant. Claimant NANCY PALUSI submitted into evidence the report of Dr. Seth Seber, who evaluated her for surgery at the request of her treating physician, Dr. Mark Perlmutter. During the surgical evaluation, Dr. Seber performed an exam, along with systematic diagnostic injections to determine the extent of relief of Claimant NANCY PALUSI’s symptoms and to determine that her nerve pain was originating from the posterior tibial nerve. Dr. Seber recommended surgery and Dr. Perlmutter agreed, as all other conservative treatments had failed. We also presented evidence of late and non-payment of workers’ compensation checks.
WCJ Dietrich found Claimant Nancy and Dr. Seder credible, as Dr. Seder’s examination was more complete and thorough than the records review by Dr. Williams, and he discussed Claimant’s problems with her treating physician. The WCJ rejected Dr. William’s URO report. The WCJ found that Defendant failed to sustain its burden of proving that the solean sling release post tibial nerve, tarsal tunnel release, and evacuation of sinus tarsi surgery was unreasonable and unnecessary. Defendant was ordered to pay for the surgery. Even if they appeal the decision, the surgery must be paid for by the carrier. This is better than “pre approval.” WCJ Dietrich also found that Claimant we proved that Defendant violated the Workers’ Compensation Act by failing to timely pay workers’ compensation benefits, and awarded 50% penalties on the late workers compensation checks owed her. disability benefits. Costs of litigation and attorney fees for unreasonable contest were also awarded to be paid by the workers’ compensation insurance company.


Here is an example:


Claimant :
vs. :
Defendant :

HEARINGS HELD: December 17, 2013 (Cancelled)
January 3, 2014
January 28, 2014
April 29, 2014


Dawn Eberle

APPEARANCES: Ronald L. Calhoon, Esq.
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Counsel for Claimant

Alysia Hudock, Esq.
1245 S. Cedar Crest Blvd.
Suite 300
Allentown, PA 18103
Counsel for Defendant


BUREAU’S B-1 October 18, 2011 Decision

CLAIMANT’S: CS-1 Claimant’s Affidavit
CS-2 Appeal Board Decision
C-1 Fee Agreement
C-2 Class Schedule
C-3 Costs of Litigation totaling $789.85
C-4 Itemization of Attorney Fees (attached)
C-5 Child Support Lien Affidavit and Printout

DEFENDANT’S: DS-1 Notice of Compensation Payable
DS-2 Vocational Packet
DS-3 Job Analysis
D-1 Deposition Transcript of Dr. Robert Mauthe
D-2 Deposition Transcript of Dawn Eberle
D-3 Preservation of Objections – Dawn Eberle


Claimant :
vs. :
Defendant :


1. On or about November 8, 2013, Defendant filed a Petition to Modify/Suspend Compensation Benefits as of October 29, 2013 due to work being generally available, Claimant being capable of performing modified work within the restrictions of Dr. Mauthe, and as per a labor market survey. Supersedeas was requested and denied by decision dated January 30, 2014.
2. This Modification Petition was assigned to the Honorable Brian Hemak on or about November 12, 2013.
3. On or about November 15, 2013, Claimant filed an Answer to Defendant’s Modification Petition denying all allegations. Claimant requested costs and attorney fees for unreasonable contest.
4. By Decision dated October 18, 2011, a Stipulation was approved that amended the description of injury to include peroneal neuropraxia, torn lateral meniscus, and depression. (B-1)
5. Claimant is 31 years old, married and has 3 children, with one on the way. (H.T. of 4/29/14, p. 9)
6. Claimant was employed as a satellite technician by Dish Network for a year and a half prior to his work injury. His physical job duties included carrying equipment, satellite dishes, hauling and moving ladders, crawling in and out of crawlspaces, and basement work. (Id.)
7. Prior to working for Dish Network, Claimant worked for several years as a carpenter, performing manual labor and all aspects of construction. (Id., p. 9-10)
8. On April 3, 2010, Claimant was installing a satellite dish and fell over 20 feet onto his left leg, resulting in a severe tibia and fibia fracture. As a result, Claimant underwent four (4) surgeries. The first two (2) involved external fixation of the left tibia and fibia; the third was an internal fixation of the tibia and fibia; and the fourth was a bone graft at the fracture site. (Id., p. 10) He has received total disability benefits since the work injury. (Id., p. 14)
9. Claimant testified that currently he experiences constant, moderate pain, rating it as a 5 out of 10 most days, with some days the pain becoming worse. Claimant also experiences neuropathy or pain and tingling in the left, big toe; constant pain above the left ankle where the most damage to the bone was sustained; after walking more than 20 minutes he will develop pain in the left side of his knee; and after sitting or walking for a long period of time he will develop low back and hip symptoms. (Id., p. 10-11)
10. Claimant’s April 3, 2010 work injury also includes depression. (Id., p. 11) Claimant explained that he always feels a sense of impending danger, along with anxiety, the inability to voice his opinion or articulate things correctly, nervousness and becoming withdrawn from conversation. Claimant never had these symptoms prior to the work injury. Workers’ compensation has paid for his monthly psychological treatments, except for the last five (5). (Id., p. 11-12)
11. Claimant testified he can stand for 20 minutes. He uses a cane, and when using that or a cart at the store, he can stand for 30 minutes. Then he needs to sit down and take a break. He recently has begun shifting his weight to the right side and leaning on the cart if he tries to stand a little longer. (Id., p. 12) Claimant did not have these problems before the work injury. (Id., p. 14)
12. Claimant testified that he can sit for approximately an hour, but begins developing a sore, throbbing pain after 30 minutes, beginning in his left hip and shooting down to his left knee. From his hip to left knee will ache terribly. If he sits for longer than 40 minutes, his left leg will fall asleep. For example, if he drives far, his leg will go numb and he will have to pull over and rest. Also, Claimant recently attended the movies with his children, and had to get up several times, approximately every 40 minutes, and go out to the lobby. (Id., p. 12-14) Claimant did not have these problems before the work injury. (Id., p. 14)
13. Claimant’s current medications include Norco for pain, Cymbalta for depression, Celebrex for arthritis and joint pain, and Lyrica for nerve pain. (Id.)
14. Claimant enrolled at Penn State College and began classes on August 26, 2013. In the Fall 2013 semester, Claimant had classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 p.m., 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. He has classes in the Spring 2014 semester on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 and 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.; Tuesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.; and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:10 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. (Id., p. 14-15; C-2) The classes are in a classroom, not online. (Id., p. 16) Claimant hopes to achieve an Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapy Assistant and graduate in May 2015, with Boards in August or October of 2015. (Id., p. 17-18)
15. Claimant hopes to work in an outpatient setting because the physical demands are less, as most patients can walk themselves, there are other aides available for assistance, and there is also a mechanical lift. If the physical therapy assistant ob demands are too rigorous, Claimant will seek an administrator position or continue his education to get into the education portion of a physical therapy program. (Id., p. 18)
16. At the time of his testimony, Claimant is still in school. The longest Claimant sits at class is 50 minutes. He has one lab which is 2 hours, however, Claimant can take a break as needed and lie down, get up, or go into the hall to stretch his leg. (Id., p. 18-19) The lab is hands-on, but Claimant uses a mechanical lift to transfer patients, which only requires minimal exertion and lifting of less than 20 lbs. (Id., p. 29-30). At the lab, Claimant has a mat to use if he needs to lie down. The class sits on the mat at their desks. He lies down approximately every other session. (Id., p. 34-35)
17. Claimant enrolled at Penn State because he realized he was not going to be able to return to work as a satellite technician or to his family’s construction company. (Id., p. 16) Claimant pays for college himself, through financial aid and student loans. (Id., p. 17)
18. Claimant testified that he is hoping to be able to perform most of the physical therapy assistant duties. He is concerned about transferring patients by himself as he has limits and cannot lift like he used too. (Id., p. 36)
19. Claimant testified that per Google Maps, the USCB Corp. job is 56 miles from his house, one way. The Commonwealth Financial job was 51.3 miles one way, the Peace job was 42 miles approximately one way, and the Sundance job was approximately 15 miles one way. (Id., p. 19-20) Claimant feels he would be able to drive the 15 miles to Sundance, but the remaining jobs would aggravate his condition, causing him to be in pain before work and affect his job performance. (Id., p. 20)
20. The sitting requirements in the above jobs are as follows:
a. USCB – frequent to continuous
b. Commonwealth Financial – up to 4 hours
c. Peace – up to 4 hours
d. Sundance – up to 4 hours
e. Research American – continuous
Claimant testified that sitting the above lengths of time would cause problems and
bother his leg dramatically. He does not feel he can sit for that long. He would need accommodations, such as being able to get up every half-hour and stretch and take a 15 minute break. (Id., p. 20-21) The job descriptions do not indicate whether Claimant can change positions or take breaks as needed, or whether any job modifications will be made.
21. While at home, Claimant stays on the ground floor as he has trouble with stairs. He can lie down when he needs to, whenever his leg bothers him. However, when his 1 year old is home, he will just sit on the floor with his leg stretched out rather than stand or hold the child. (Id., p. 21)
22. Defendant presented the testimony of Robert Mauthe, M.D. Dr. Mauthe first performed an IME of Claimant on July 11, 2012. Claimant reported falling approximately 10-15 feet off a ladder on April 3, 2010, sustaining a fairly severe distal tibial and fibular fracture. An external fixator was attempted, but Claimant ultimately had to undergo internal fixation with bone grafting. Claimant also experienced left knee pain, and an EMG revealed a nerve injury and torn meniscus. (Mauthe Depo., p. 5-7)
23. Claimant’s treatment included physical therapy; treatment by Dr. Kline, a physiatrist; home exercises; and use of a cane on his right due to the left ankle. Claimant reported left ankle swelling and right knee pain, worse with use. (Id., p. 8-9)
24. Physical examination revealed a consistent left leg limp; left leg atrophy consistent with an injury and little use; loss of range of motion of the left ankle; left ankle swelling; and his left leg was shorter than the right. There was no symptom magnification. Dr. Mauthe explained that Claimant did not fully recover from the surgery and had residuals, which is not unusual with such a bad fracture and is consistent with same. (Id., p. 9-11)
25. Dr. Mauthe opined that as a result of the April 3, 2010 work injury, Claimant sustained a fracture of the left tibia and fibula resulting in an open reduction and internal fixation; that Claimant continued to have a residual functional impairment as a result of the injury; and that Claimant also sustained a left peroneal nerve injury and a left lateral knee meniscus tear. Dr. Mauthe recommended rehab. (Id., p. 11) Dr. Mauthe did not address Claimant’s work-related depression. (Id., p. 25)
26. Dr. Mauthe further opined that as of July of 2012, Claimant’s low back and hip complaints are due to the left leg limp. He felt Claimant was not fully recovered and imposed restrictions of sedentary work; driving 1-4 hours; standing/walking for less than 1 hour; lifting 10 lbs., no use of the left foot for any operations or foot control; and no sitting limitations. (Id., p. 12-13) A Notice of Ability to Return to Work was issued on August 3, 2012. (Depo. Exh. 2)
27. Dr. Mauthe performed a second IME of Claimant in May of 2013. Claimant reported undergoing hardware removal from his ankle and wearing arch supports. (Id., p. 13)
28. Physical examination in May of 2013 revealed no significant changes from the prior exam and was virtually identical. Dr. Mauthe’s diagnoses remained virtually identical also, except that his left knee exam was normal. Restrictions remained essentially unchanged, except Claimant’s driving was no longer restricted but for using a clutch. Claimant could stand or walk for less than 1 hour. (Id., p. 15-17) Claimant did not drive to the IME. (Depo. Exh. 3)
29. Dr. Mauthe felt there was no medical basis for Claimant’s inability to sit or need to lie down. (Id., p. 17-18) Dr. Mauthe believes that Claimant cannot sit for longer than 1-2 hours because it makes his back hurt. He does not disbelieve Claimant. (Id., p. 20-21) Dr. Mauthe did not order a Functional Capacity Evaluation to help determine Claimant’s capabilities, as it would not be appropriate for him to recommend. (Id., p. 22-23)
30. Dr. Mauthe opined that Claimant is capable of performing the jobs identified by Genex, assuming they are described in an accurate fashion. (Id., p. 19-20)
31. Defendant presented the testimony of Dawn Eberle, a vocational counselor for Genex. Ms. Eberle believes her ethical obligation is to both the disabled worker and the insurance company paying her bill. She has never testified as a vocational counselor before the Social Security Administration, the Court of Common Pleas in a personal injury matter, in a federal Workers’ Compensation case, or on behalf of a disabled person. (Depo. of Dawn Eberle, p. 6-7)
32. Ms. Eberle utilized Dr. Mauthe’s July 11, 2012 restrictions of sedentary work in conducting her vocational assessment. Sedentary work is primarily a sitting position, with lifting no more than 10 lbs. She also received Dr. Mauthe’s May 30, 2013 re-evaluation report. (Id., p. 7-8)
33. Ms. Eberle testified that she contacted Employer prior to conducting a vocational meeting, who had no work available. (Id., p. 9)
34. A vocational meeting was conducted on October 25, 2012. Claimant reported the details of the work injury and described symptoms of moderate, constant pain of the left lower leg, 5 out of 10 and sometimes worse. Claimant further indicated decreased range of motion; a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy with nerve pain and numbness on the right side of his left foot; and a diagnosis of depression with symptoms of gloominess and anxiety. (Id., p. 9-10) Claimant further reported ADL’s of some household activities and light clean-up, with his wife performing the cooking, laundry and carrying anything heavy. Claimant indicated he could only drive short distances and uses a cane when outside. (Id., p. 12)
35. During the interview, Claimant also reported depression and anxiety treatment once a month with a psychologist. (Id., p. 25) Claimant also reported that his left knee and hip will have pain and his left hip will fall asleep with sitting; his left knee aches; and that he uses a cane for activities such as shopping. (Id., p. 26).
36. Ms. Eberle did not contact either of Claimant’s treating physicians to ascertain their work restrictions, as she was instructed by the insurer to only use Dr. Mauthe’s restrictions. (Id., p. 25-26)
37. Claimant’s past employment history consisted of working for a little over a year for Employer as a field service representative, along with construction and laborer work. (Id., p. 13)
38. Ms. Eberle performed a transferrable skills analysis, and felt Claimant was capable of performing assembly positions, inspecting positions and work as a solderer. (Id., p. 14-15) However, if these positions are not available when conducting the Labor Market Survey, Ms. Eberle looks for basic, entry level positions that do not require much training. (Id., p. 15) Ms. Eberle did not use a VDare analysis. (Id., p. 30)
39. From February 28, 2013 through September 3, 2013, Ms. Eberle identified five (5) positions for a Labor Market Survey, which was dated October 29, 2013. (Id., p. 15-18). Ms. Eberle agreed that it was a year between the initial case evaluation and issuance of the Labor Market Survey. During this time, she did not attempt to obtain updates regarding Claimant’s circumstances or position, and no such information was provided to her. (Id., p. 26)
40. The first position identified in the Labor Market Survey was with USCB as a full-time collector located in Archbald, PA, paying $10.00 per hour. It was Ms. Eberle’s understanding that training would be provided. The position is sedentary and requires contacting individuals regarding delinquent accounts. (Id., p. 19-20) The position was identified on February 28, 2013 but Ms. Eberle is not sure how long it was actually available. She agreed it could have been filled by March 1, 2013. (Id., p. 27-28) The sitting requirements were up to 4 hours at one time, frequently and continuously throughout the day. The job description indicates that no job modifications are needed. (Mauthe Depo. Exh. 4) Your Honor finds that the position is outside of Claimant’s geographical area, was not open and available to Claimant at the time the Labor Market Survey was issued, cannot be performed by Claimant due to his work injury, and is not vocationally suitable.
41. The second position was with Commonwealth Financial Systems as a collector, identified in April of 2013. The position is also sedentary, part-time 20 – 34 hours per week, paying $8.50 per hour. (Id., p. 20) The position was identified on April 25, 2013, but likewise Ms. Eberle is not sure how long it was actually available. It could have been filled on April 25, 2013. (Id., p. 28) The sitting requirements were 4 hours at one time, frequently and continuously throughout the day, with walking only minutes and incidentally. The job description indicates that no job modifications are needed. (Mauthe Depo. Exh. 4) Your Honor finds that the position is outside of Claimant’s geographical area, was not open and available to Claimant at the time the Labor Market Survey was issued, cannot be performed by Claimant due to his work injury, and is not vocationally suitable
42. The third position was with P.E.A.C.E., Inc. as a full time telemarketer, working 20 hours per week and earning between $8.00 and $9.00 per hour. The position was sedentary. (Id., p. 20-21) The position was identified on July 25, 2013, and Ms. Eberle is not aware when the position was filled. She agreed it could have been filled the next day. (Id., p. 29) The sitting requirements were up to 4 hours at one time and per day. The job description indicates that no job modifications are needed. (Mauthe Depo. Exh. 4) Your Honor finds that the position is outside of Claimant’s geographical area, was not open and available to Claimant at the time the Labor Market Survey was issued, cannot be performed by Claimant due to his work injury, and is not vocationally suitable
43. The fourth position was with Sundance Vacations as a telephone service representative, part-time 20 – 25 hours per week, earning $11.00 per hour. The position was sedentary. (Id., p. 21-22) The position was identified on August 15, 2013, and Ms. Eberle was not aware when the position was filled, it could have been the next day. (Id., p. 29) The sitting requirements were up to 4 hours at one time, 4-5 hours per day. The job description indicates that no job modifications are needed. (Mauthe Depo. Exh. 4) Your Honor finds that the position is outside of Claimant’s geographical area, was not open and available to Claimant at the time the Labor Market Survey was issued, cannot be performed by Claimant due to his work injury, and is not vocationally suitable.
44. The fifth position was with Research America in customer service, working approximately 33 hours per week, earning between $7.65 and $8.15 per hour. (Id., p. 22) The position was identified on September 3, 2013, and Ms. Eberle is not sure when the position was filled. It could have been filled the next day. (Id., p. 29) The sitting requirements were continuous, with rare standing and incidental walking. The job description indicates that no job modifications are needed. (Mauthe Depo. Exh. 4) Your Honor finds that the position is outside of Claimant’s geographical area, was not open and available to Claimant at the time the Labor Market Survey was issued, cannot be performed by Claimant due to his work injury, and is not vocationally suitable..
45. Ms. Eberle utilized the Research America job in another Labor Market Survey, and might have also used the Sundance Vacations position. (Id., p. 27) Your Honor therefore finds that neither position could be open and available to Claimant.
46. Dr. Mauthe approved all positions. Ms. Eberle testified that the positions were vocationally suitable for Claimant as they fell within Dr. Mauthe’s restrictions, they are all entry-level with paid training, and within Claimant’s geographic area. (Id., p. 23)
47. At the time of her deposition, Ms. Eberle was made aware that Claimant was actively attending Penn State. She was not aware of this at the time she conducted the Labor Market Survey. (Id., p. 23-24)
48. Ms. Eberle testified that Claimant’s earning capacity is $246.15 per week. (Id., p. 24)
49. Ms. Eberle has not looked at statistical data on where people in different areas of the country travel to and from work, either from a time perspective or a distance perspective. She agreed she does not have such statistical numbers for Claimant’s area. (Id., p. 29-30)
50. Ms. Eberle agreed that all Claimant’s past positions have been manual labor in nature, and not customer service. She essentially agreed that Claimant’s past transferrable skills essentially did not demonstrate the capacity for customer service skills or selling. (Id., p. 30-31)
51. Your Honor finds the testimony of Claimant to be credible, consistent and persuasive, and accepts the same as fact. Your Honor finds Claimant’s demeanor to be credible when he testified at hearing, and his testimony is consistent with the other credible evidence of record.
52. Your Honor finds the testimony of Ms. Eberle to be incredible, inconsistent and unpersuasive, and rejects same. Ms. Eberle took an extraordinary and excessive amount of time to conduct the Labor Market Survey, rendering it uselessly stale; ignored her ethical obligations to the injured worker; ignored the information obtained during the vocational interview; failed to obtain restrictions from Claimant’s treating physicians as she was taking orders from the insurance company despite her admitted ethical duty to the disabled person; ignored the results of her transferrable skills analysis; failed to properly conduct the transferrable skills analysis by using VDare; identified jobs in the Labor Market Survey that were not educationally or vocationally suitable for Claimant or within his geographic area; admitted she had no statistical data regarding Claimant’s geographical area; did not seek any follow-up information during the year it took to complete the Labor Market Survey; used the same positions in multiples Labor Market Surveys; agreed that Claimant does not have the capacity for customer service or selling; and was unaware of Claimant’s college class schedule and efforts to vocationally rehabilitate himself.
53. Your Honor finds the testimony of Dr. Mauthe to be incredible, equivocal and unpersuasive, and rejects same. Dr. Mauthe agreed that Claimant suffered a severe tibia and fibia fracture; ignored pertinent findings on exam; ignored Claimant’s residual functional impairments; failed to address Claimant’s work-related depression when evaluating the Labor Market Survey jobs; failed to reconcile how his imposed restrictions were within the Labor Market Survey jobs; and acknowledged that Claimant was believable and all his complaints were valid.
54. Your Honor finds that due to the work injury, Claimant is significantly limited in function, needing to change positions frequently, experiences left hip and leg pain after sitting 30 minutes and his left leg falls asleep after sitting 40 minutes; has to sit down after standing for 20 minutes; needs to lay down at times; has difficulty with stairs; and suffers from depression. He is further limited by his work injury in that he can only drive short distances. As a result, the positions identified by Ms. Eberle are not open and available to Claimant.
55. Claimant has incurred costs of litigation totaling $487.50. (C-3, attached hereto)
56. Claimant has spent 23.45 hours in litigation of this petition at $225.00 per
hour, totaling $5,276.25. (C-4, attached) Your Honor finds that Claimant’s Itemization of Attorney Fees is reasonable as to the amount of time expended and the difficulty of the work performed.
57. Claimant has a 20% Fee Agreement with Calhoon & Associates, P.C., which
Your Honor finds to be fair and reasonable. (C-1)
58. Claimant does not have any arrearages pursuant to the PA Child Enforcement
system website and his Child Support Lien Affidavit. (C-5, attached)

1. The parties are bound by the provisions of the Pennsylvania Workers’
Compensation Act, as amended.
2. In order to prevail in seeking a modification or suspension of benefits, an
employer must either offer the claimant a specific job that it has available that the claimant is able to perform, or establish earning power through expert testimony in the nature of a labor market survey. Allied Prods. & Servs. v. W.C.A.B. (Click), 823 A.2d 284 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2003). It is Defendant’s burden to prove open and available jobs which fit into Claimant’s occupational category, and if that referral fails to result in a job, then Claimant’s benefits should continue. South Hills Health System v. W.C.A.B. (Kiefer), 806 A.2d 962 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2002). It is the employer’s burden to convince the fact finder that positions within the injured worker’s residual capacity are actually available. South Hills. Defendant has not met this burden, as the evidence does not establish that the five (5) positions identified by Ms. Eberle are open and available to Claimant, nor that they are educationally and vocationally suitable for Claimant.
Recently, in Phoenixville Hospital v. WCAB (Shoap), 81 A.3d 830 (Pa. 2013), the Supreme Court held that a Labor Market Survey (“LMS”) must contain “meaningful employment opportunities”, or jobs that are actually open and potentially available. Specifically, “the proof required to reduce or suspend a claimant’s benefits must rest upon the existence of meaningful employment opportunities, and not the simple identification of jobs found in want ads or employment listings.” To do this, the Court stated that the jobs identified in a LMS must remain open for a reasonable time to allow the claimant to apply. “If the job is already filled, it does not ‘exist’”. If these criteria are not met, then a claimant’s benefits cannot be modified or suspended by the results of the LMS.
In the instant matter, it took over a year from the initial vocational meeting for Ms. Eberle to produce her Labor Market Survey (“LMS”), containing five (5) jobs which were identified from February 28, 2013 to September 3, 2013. It is unreasonable to suggest that jobs identified 2 -10 months before the issuance of the LMS would still be open and available to Claimant, per Phoenixville Hospital. Ms. Eberle even admitted that the jobs could have been filled the day after she identified them, and she had no personal knowledge that the positions remained open and available at the time the LMS was issued. On this issue alone, Defendant’s Modification Petition must fail.
To lend further support to Claimant’s defense of the Modification Petition, Ms. Eberle also did not take all information supplied by Claimant and his counsel during the vocational interview into account when performing the job referrals. Ms. Eberle ignored Claimant’s problems with sitting for longer than 30 minutes, with driving, and his job history. Ms. Eberle admitted that all Claimant’s past positions have been manual labor in nature, and that Claimant has no customer service skills. She essentially agreed that Claimant’s past transferrable skills did not demonstrate any capacity for customer service skills or selling. She further testified that her transferrable skills analysis identified manual labor positions. Yet the LMS did not reflect the transferrable skills analysis, restrictions with sitting and driving, and Claimant’s educational and vocational background. Instead Ms. Eberle substituted “entry level positions” that did not “require much training” but required extensive sitting and driving, as admittedly no positions were available during the year long job search Claimant’s vocational category. It is very clear to Your Honor that Claimant does not have the educational or vocational background necessary for the identified positions. It is also clear to Your Honor that more than minimal training would be required of Claimant for the positions. Therefore, they are not vocationally suitable for Claimant per South Hills Health System, and cannot be used to modify Claimant’s benefits.
Moreover, Ms. Eberle did not take into account Claimant’s college class schedule when identifying jobs in the LMS. Claimant submits that his attempt to vocationally retrain himself must be considered, much like the claimant in Hardisty v. American Aluminum & Insulation, No. A-01, 1255, Appeal Board, filed May 28, 2002). In Hardisty, the claimant was engaged in retraining through OVR, and the defendant was required to show that the jobs identified in the LMS accommodated the training. Such a ruling still prevails, in spite of Act 57. Burgess v. W.C.A.B. (Plaza Foods), 149 Pa.Commw. 13, 612 A.2d 542 (1992). Per the applicable law, Claimant’s class schedule must be accommodated and the LMS failed to do so. There has been no indication that the prospective Employer’s would permit a flexible work schedule so that Claimant could attend his college classes.
Further, the evidence presented establishes that all but one (1) position is outside of Claimant’s geographical area. Claimant provided undisputed, competent and convincing testimony that four (4) of the identified jobs were over 40 miles, one way. Claimant also provided competent and convincing testimony that he cannot drive such distances due to his accepted work injuries. The only position that Claimant would be able to drive to was with Sundance Vacations. However this position was not established as open and available (see above) and it, along with the Research America job, were used in other LMS for different claimants, rendering them invalid. Ms. Eberle even admitted that she had no statistical data regarding Claimant’s geographical area. The Courts have further consistently acknowledged and substantiated these work-related driving requirements. Open and available jobs must be within reach of a claimant’s current residence. Motor Coils v. W.C.A.B. (Bish), 853 A.2d 1082, 1086 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2004) As a result, the geographical and driving issues further support a denial of Defendant’s Modification Petition.
Further, Dr. Mauthe’s opinions cannot be relied upon, as they are equivocal, incompetent and unpersuasive. Dr. Mauthe acknowledged the seriousness of Claimant’s work injuries and expressed belief in his subjective complaints. He acknowledged that Claimant was not malingering. Dr. Mauthe also imposed significant restrictions on standing, driving, lifting and walking, yet somehow sitting restrictions were absent, despite Claimant’s believable and valid subjective complaints. Yet, he “approved” the job descriptions provided by Ms. Eberle, in spite of his restrictions and the seriousness of Claimant’s work injury, and also without taking into account Claimant’s accepted, work-related depression. In looking at these approved jobs restrictions, Your Honor notes that there is no indication of job modifications to accommodate Claimant’s restrictions and work-related disability and need for significant on-the-job training.
Finally, Defendant has failed to prove there was no work available with the time-of-injury employer. This is a pre-requisite to meeting Defendant’s burden of proof. Prior to seeking a modification or suspension of benefits based on earning power, if a specific job vacancy exists with the employer, which the claimant is capable of performing, the employer must offer the claimant the position. Regulation 123.301(a) The employer’s obligation to offer a specific job vacancy to the employee commences when the insurer provides the notice to the employee required by Section 306(b)(3) of the Act, [77 P.S. 512(b)(3)] and shall continue for 30 days or until the filing of a Petition for Modification or Suspension, whichever is longer. Regulation 123.301 (b).
6. Section 440, 77 P.S. 996, provides that reasonable counsel fees are to be
paid by the defendant in a litigated case, unless the defendant meets its burden of establishing facts sufficient to prove a reasonable basis for the contest. Drayton v. W.C.A.B. (Fruehauf Corp.), 551 A.2d 680 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1988). In the instant case, Defendant has failed to meet its burden of proof, as outlined fully above. Defendant filed its Modification Petition based on outdated vocational information; jobs which were not open and available, as required by law; that were not within Claimant’s vocational, occupational and geographic area; and with no competent medical opinion supporting that Claimant could perform the identified jobs. Accordingly, Defendant is to pay Claimant’s attorney fees for unreasonable contest as outlined in Finding of Fact No. 58.
Respectfully submitted,

Ronald L. Calhoon, Esq.
Calhoon & Associates, P.C.
I.D. No., 53667
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(717) 695-4722
Counsel for Claimant
Injured Worker

Date: June __, 2014



I hired Tom Cook of Calhoon & Associates to represent me in my Workers Compensation battle.
If anyone ever gets to Work Comp, don’t try to work it yourself, they will eat you up.
Tom Cook went well beyond the expectations that we imagined could help me. Tom is a very hard working lawyer, very dedicated to helping his cliants, and is a true go-getter and not afraid of any battle.
If you need a determined pit bull to guard you and your workers comp claim, look nowhere other than Calhoun Assoc, and ask for Tom Cook. He is absolutely fantastic.
Tom keeps in constant contact with you, and is never too busy to take your phone calls with questions or concerns, and will ALWAYS call you back in super quick response time.
Even after my claim was settled, Tom has kept contact with me, and has often said, “I work for you”, so no question is ever un-important, or wrong. He siad that often, and backed up everything he has told us.
Not only was Tom there for myself, but welcomed my wife to all meetings, hearings, and urged her to free free to ask him anything. He becomes part of your family, and wants to win for you more that you will ever inagine. He is just the best !!!
I have told many friends, etc about Tom Cook, and will continue to promote his services until the day I die, because he truy deserves that respect.
Tom also took the time to introduce us to his boss, Mr Calhoun, and it was obvious that this firm is a true TEAM that you want to work for you.
Tom Cook – that is all you need to know !!
Michael Hallman Harrisburg, PA


I would rate his services a….

I hurt my shoulder at work and went to their doctors and had surgery for a torn rotator cuff and bone spurs and was sent back to work in 8 weeks in a secure juvenile detention center. 6 months later the pain in my shoulder was unbearable. I contacted Ron and went to see an orthopedic doctor he recommended. I had a full thickness tear and a hole in my rotator cuff and the comp Dr. never removed the spurs. After a second surgery that included screwing anchors into the bone to hold my shoulder together I was on my way to recovery. Ron was there for me every step of the way through almost 2 years of therapy and dealing with the insurance company. He answered every email and call sometimes well after business hours. He negotiated a more than fair settlement and gave good advice throughout the negotiations. I would rate his services a 10 OUT OF 10! Robert P Wiles-Barre, PA


Chronic Pain Can Harm Your Brain

Many of our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation injured workers suffer from chronic pain. This means that their pain is unrelenting and can be described as a non-stop sensation of throbbing pain. Often, this condition is the result of years of medical treatment including steroid injections, physical therapy and surgery, with no relief. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine recently conducted a study on people who suffer from chronic pain. The study revealed that people who suffer from chronic pain can also have trouble sleeping, are depressed, anxious and even have difficulty making simple decisions.

The researchers found that in a healthy brain, all regions exist in a state of equilibrium. When one region is active, the other regions quiet down and rest. But when someone has chronic pain, the brain never rests, wearing out neurons and altering the connections to each other. This constant firing of neurons can cause permanent damage. The emotional cortex “never shuts up.” The changes in the wiring of your brain can make it harder to make a decision, be in a good mood or even get up in the morning. The chronic pain from your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation injury could be producing depression and other abnormalities because it is disturbing the balance of your brain.

The article on the study can be found here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205171755.htm#.U50Hz0bPb70.twitter


Right now, injured workers’ and their families are being targeted in the Pennsylvania Legislature!

The Pennsylvania Senate is considering House Bill 1846, which eliminates the ability of Pennsylvania physicians to personally dispense medication to their patients under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation system. This is being presented to the Senate to try to protect insurance companies’ profits; all at the expense of the injured worker. Too many Pennsylvania injured workers have had their Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claims held up by the greedy insurance company who tries to avoid taking responsibility for paying claims. This includes delays in getting medication from a pharmacy or even denying the claim which forces the Pennsylvania injured worker to pay out of pocket for medications that should be covered under the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system.

There is an urgent need for both physicians and injured workers to fight back. Do not let the greedy insurance companies come between patients and their physicians. Call or write to your Pennsylvania state senators today. Tell them to vote NO to HB 1846. It’s your Doctor, your Medication and your Health!


I Was Afraid All Attorneys Are Evil

I was very afraid when it came time for my disability hearing, thinking that the judge would not recognize how serious my disability is. Once the hearing began, all of my fears went away; It was clear that Melissa Leininger had done her homework on me and my disabilities, and she was knowledgeable of the causes and symptoms. She presented my case to the judge in a manner that showed all medical reasoning for me to be listed as disabled. Her line of questioning on me, brought home every detail of my daily struggles, and clarified how horrible life must be for me in certain situations. She did an excellent job. Also, during the process, she gave me tips on how I could save on paying some fees; and they say lawyers are evil, Melissa was very helpful, and very pleasant. J. Green Lancaster, PA


In Pennsylvania, a workers’ compensation insurance carrier can stop payment of temporary workers’ compensation benefits without a hearing, just by TIMELY filing a Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation (LIBC-501). There are very strict requirements regarding the time periods the workers’ compensation insurance carrier has to properly revoke a Notice of Temporary Compensation. If not timely revoked, the revocation (i.e., the Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation is invalid and a Judge will place you back on compensation very swiftly) becomes invalid and the Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation converts to a regular Notice of Compensation Payable. First, the carrier must revoke the Notice of Temporary Compensation payable within 90 days of payment of compensation. Secondly, the law requires that before stopping benefits, the Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation must be sent or filed no later than five days after the last payment of compensation. Section 404.1(d)(5)(i) provides: If the employer ceases making payments pursuant to a Notice of Compensation Payable, a notice…shall be sent to the claimant and a copy filed with the department, but in no event shall this notice be sent or filed later than five days after last payment.” If not timely, Section 406.1(d)(6) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act states: “If the employer does not file a notice under paragraph 5…the employer shall be deemed to have admitted liability and the Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable shall be converted to a Notice of Compensation Payable”. Generally, benefits can not be stopped under a regular Notice of Compensation Payable except by a Judge’s order after due process or by an agreement to a lump sum settlement. They cannot be unilaterally stopped just because the carrier thinks the injured worker is all better, can work, has been offered work, has fully recovered or if the adjuster has a bad hair day.

In a recent case, a Calhoon and Associates client was being paid workers’ compensation benefits per a Notice of Temporary Compensation Payable. A Notice Stopping Temporary Compensation was issued on December 6, 2013. However, the last payment of temporary compensation benefits was issued on November 25, 2013 and received on November 30, 2013.

The Calhoon legal argument before the WC Judge was that the Notice Stopping of Temporary Compensation Payable was clearly late, as it was issued more than five days after the receipt of the last payment of compensation benefits. The Liberty Mutual attorney argued that the Notice was timely because the insurance company had to wait for the employer to report claimant’s earnings in order to calculate her last temporary compensation check. Thus, Liberty Mutual urged the Judge that it had to wait until December 6, 2013 to determine if claimant was owed additional benefits. The Calhoon argument in response to this was two-fold: First, claimant did report her earnings on a timely basis; and second, the law states that “in no event” shall the notice be sent more than five days after the last check. The Calhoon team argued that the entire law sounds in equity, meaning that since the law allows workers’ compensation benefits to be cut off without a hearing, the insurance company must demonstrate “clean hands” by adhering to the letter of the law.

By decision dated May 20, 2014, a Harrisburg Workers’ Compensation Judge agreed, finding both claimant and her legal team’s arguments to be correct, and quickly awarded benefits. This is an important decision for several reasons. First, the claimant was properly awarded ongoing workers compensation benefits which she desperately needed. Second, the Calhoon Team was able to establish a significant legal precedent that the workers’ compensation law should be read as remedial legislation where the claimant is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Finally, the Judge was interested and involved in the case and responded favorably to cogent, detailed, legal and factual arguments made by claimants’ lawyers, Calhoon and Associates.
The law firm of Calhoon & Associates represents injured workers and Social Security Disability applicants throughout Pennsylvania, including (but not limited to): Allentown, Altoona, Bellefonte, Bethlehem, Bloomsburg, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Easton, Enola, Fayetteville, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hazelton, Hollidaysburg, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lewisburg, Lewistown, McConnellsburg, Mechanicsburg, Mifflintown, Millersburg, Milton, New Bloomfield, Newport, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Pottsville, Reading, Scranton, Shippensburg, State College, Sunbury, Uniontown, Washington, Wellsboro, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, York and all cities and towns in Adams County, Allegheny County, Berks County, Blair County, Bucks County, Centre County, Chester County, Clinton County, Columbia County, Cumberland County, Dauphin County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Huntingdon County, Juniata County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Mifflin County, Montgomery County, Northumberland County, Perry County, Philadelphia County, Schuylkill County, Tioga County, Union County, Washington County and York County, Pennsylvania.

Calhoon & Associates
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110


Fracking may be a fairly new concept to Pennsylvania, but a court in Texas has handed down a landmark decision involving an injured family due to Fracking. A middle-class family was awarded almost $3,000,000 (three million) against a big natural gas company. The suit arose out of complaints that the drilling site caused years of sickness, killed pets and livestock, and forced them out of their home. This large verdict is thought to be the first of its kind in the nation. The gas company, Aruba Petroleum continues to contend that they did nothing wrong that they followed safe and legal guidelines.

Environmenatlists are happy with this decision, and continue to warn of the potential dangers of living close to these drilling sites as well as working on a site. In Pennsylvania, these fracking sites are growing in numbers and Pennsylvania workers are being injured on these sites. If you are a Pennsylvania worker who has been injured while working on a drilling site in Pennsylvania, you should contact a qualified, competent and ethical Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney right away to protest your rights.


Mr. Calhoon is my workers comp attorney. He always keeps my best interest in the forefront. When he became my attorney he took the weight off of my shoulders and the only thing I was instructed to do was focus on healing. Linda Q.-Harrisburg, PA 5-9-14


We frequently receive inquires from injured workers who want to hire our law firm because they are upset with their workers comp lawyer. They feel like nothing is happening in their case, they sense their attorney is not aggressive enough, and may not know what is happening.

Sometimes, this is merely due to miscommunication. We encourage the individual to call and schedule an appointment to talk with their existing lawyer.
Some problems can be fixed with better communication and understanding.
Communication is always the key to a great outcome.

The first thing that you should do is ask your workers compensation lawyer about the procedure. In PA, you will be scheduled for pre-trial, several status hearings, hearings where evidence and testimony is actually presented, and possibly a mediation or settlement conference. When all of the evidence is in, the Judge will ask for legal briefs and the lawyers have usually 30 days to submit those. Thereafter, you can expect a decision in three months.

You should have reasonable expectations about what you may achieve. Let your lawyer know what you want after your lawyer has explained all that you may be entitled to in the long run or big picture.

Understand that a workers comp case can take months or years to resolve and make a plan. Some cases never resolve. We have some rare clients that we won compensation for decades ago and they still receive weekly compensation checks.

Don’t expect automatic updates as the workers’ comp system is slow. We do everything to speed it up when it is in our client’s best interest. Most of the work we do the client is unaware of it. An experienced workers comp lawyer that cares will contact you at each critical stage in your claim and will let you know when to appear at a hearing, what to expect at each hearing and prep you for the hearing. If you want an update, simply ask to schedule a telephone conference with your workers comp lawyer. Or just simply email your lawyer for a quick update.

Let your lawyer know if you have a problem. An experienced workers comp lawyer can put you in the best position to win your case. But you must make your concerns known.

We strongly encourage you to speak with your current lawyer before contacting our office. If you cannot continue with your existing lawyer, we will be happy to evaluate your case.

If you switch lawyers, the total maximum attorney fee in any workers’ compensation case is 20%. By changing lawyers, your attorney fee does not increase. The attorneys will have to work out splitting the 20% between them.

Attorneys do differ. They differ in their knowledge of the law, skills, competency, integrity, and the reasons why they represent injured workers. Intent matters.

To speak with one of our workers comp lawyers, call 877-291-WORK (9675) for a free consultation.


Hospitals are dangerous places to work. According to OSHA, hospitals have almost four times the number of back injuries than other employers. The average injury rate is 1.2 injuries per 100 employees; hospitals on average have 4.4 injuries per 100 employees. Half of those injuries are back injuries. A recent study from OSHA notes that Nursing Assistants rank #1 in the United States for work-related back injuries while Registered Nurses rank #5 out of all workers. Other studies confirm these findings.
Why? A recent OSHA study found that hospital back injuries result from overexertion from lifting, transferring and repositioning patients. While mechanical devices such as Hoyer Lifts are designed to move patients safely; many hospitals don’t use them. Why? OSHA concluded that the reasons were failure to properly train staff, failure to educate patients about the safety and effectiveness of mechanical lifts and failure of management to follow through with proper implementation.
Hospitals are busy workplaces and are frequently understaffed. Nurses frequently have to resort to calling for assistance from other nurses or even trying to reposition patients themselves. OSHA studied this problem and found that it is actually 5 minutes quicker to use a mechanical lift then to try and assemble a team to move a heavy patient.
Hospitals who design, implement and follow through with safety training, proper staffing and organized follow through have seen a dramatic reduction in work place injuries. Many hospitals don’t know or don’t care and the result is a continuing huge number of work place injuries.
We have represented many in the health care field from doctors, to nurses to CPAs and we are aware of all the issues these employers try to use to confuse, obfuscate and delay the proper and prompt receipt of PA compensation benefits for work injures.


Yes. PA Workers’ compensation insurance companies are looking for any avenue they can use to either deny your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim, cut off those benefits, reduce those benefits or just make you feel uncomfortable being on workers’ comp so you will settle for less than the reasonable value of your case. They are now turning to social media. A recent court case, Ferraccio v. Tek Cusine Inc., found that a worker’s compensation judge was allowed to view a video from the Claimant’s Facebook page as part of the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case. Because of this video, the Judge felt that the Claimant’s behavior in the courtroom was contradictory and decided she was no longer credible. Therefore, the Claimant lost her Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case and was denied any entitlement of future comp benefits. You must be proactive. Increase your security on these social media sites, or deactivate the site all together. Make sure that you do not have any pictures, videos or posts that would contradict your assertion that you were hurt at work and cannot work due to your restrictions.


1. Tell the truth. This seems like an obvious point, however, sometimes well meaning people exaggerate under pressure. Don’t do this. The defense attorney for the insurance company has combed through all of your medical records, your prior WC claims, if any, and your personnel file. The defense attorney might ask: Did you ever hurt your back before?” If you say “ No” and it turns out you hurt your back when you tripped over your coffee table at home three years ago, you have seriously damaged your case. Help your attorney get problems out of the way by fully informing them of any negative factors in your case. Be candid with your attorney and your lawyer will help surmount any problems.
2. Listen to your attorney. Your attorney’s job is to assist you in telling the important points of your story and to prepare you for the questions that may be asked by the defense attorney. Your attorney knows all the players, the Judge, the defense attorneys, all of the doctors and even the court reporter. Presumably you have hired a Certified Workers Compensation attorney with years of experience. Rely on your lawyer’s advice.
3. If you don’t remember something, say so. No one remembers everything and there is nothing wrong with saying you don’t remember if you in fact don’t.
4. Keep your answers short and to the point. Don’t explain. Do not volunteer information that you are not asked. The defense attorney may act like your friend to get you to open up and “ tell the whole story” Don’t do this. Don’t be afraid of silence, “yes” or “no” is preferable.
5. Don’t try and convince the Judge or the defense attorney of how right you are. Let your attorney do this.
6. Don’t lose your temper. Anyone who has ever been married knows that when you get angry, you say things you later regret. The defense attorney may try and get you to lose your temper as another technique to get you to “open up”. Remember that the defense attorney has handled thousands of hearings and you haven’t. Don’t try and outsmart them, don’t argue, don’t get mad. A good technique is to count to three before you answer a question. Take your time, listen and stay calm.
7. Remember your audience: the Judge. The WC Judge has enormous power in your case ; he or she decides which witnesses to believe, which doctor to believe and which case law applies. There is no jury. Your attorney knows the Judge and can tell you how to handle yourself. Focus on the Judge, not the defense attorney. The WC Judge hears hundreds of cases every year. They like witnesses who are calm, believable, concise and don’t have an axe to grind. They don’t like witnesses who are argumentative, opinionated, long winded, evasive and unbelievable.
8. It is OK to be nervous. It is perfectly natural that you are anxious about testifying in Court. If you listen to your attorney, tell the truth ( remember to say yes if you have prior injuries!) listen to the question, wait before your answer and keep your answers short, you will help your attorney present your case in a good light.


You need to carefully read and get legal advice on the “fine print” of the LTD policy and you need to find out whether you paid the premium, the employer paid the premium or both paid what pro rata percentage of the premium. The WC insurance company is entitled to take a credit (deduction) for the part of the LTD they paid for on a pro rata basis. In other words, if they paid 50% 0f the premiums and you paid 50% of the premiums, every dollar in LTD or Short term disability benefits you collect, the workers’ comp carrier will get a 50 cent reduction on your workers’ compensation payments. The fine print of the LTD policy may have language about additional
credits or deductions. You thus have to be very careful to fully research these issues before you accept LTD in addition to WC.
You also have to be careful when retiring from the time-of-injury employer since the WC insurance company can claim that you have taken yourself out of the workforce and are not entitled to any WC. Sometimes an employer will want you to take LTD in conjunction with a separation from employment. Also, you should understand that the employer may be entitled to further credits from retirement or severance payments. If they contributed to the retirement benefit, then comp is entitled to a pro rata credit against workers’ compensation.
Generally, LTD carriers want you to apply for SSD because their policy will say that they are entitled to pay you less LTD if you are receiving SSD. It may be a good idea for you to receive SSD in addition to WC. WC does not have a credit for SSD; thus, you can receive full WC and, at least, partial SSD. You need to be careful; however, if you are close to retirement age. At that point your SSD will turn into Social Security Retirement (SSR). At that point, the credit situation reverses and WC can deduct 50% of the amount of your SSR from the WC.
Thus, while it is possible to receive WC, LTD and SSD; there may be credits or deductions which could lessen the amount of your WC check. The WC insurance carrier and the LTD carrier will not explain this to you. It is a good idea to get expert legal advice before proceeding. We love to coordinate all of the benefits to the maximum. Timing and wording is vital. Contact us before proceeding alone. We can not put tooth paste back into the tube. Most of the time we cannot undue damage you have already inflicted upon your own benefits. We do not charge you for this advice.


Skeptical with Lots of Questions

“Was skeptical of hiring a lawyer for my workers comp. case, because of a bad experience some years back. As soon as I met with Ron Calhoon, I felt at ease and very informed. He walked me through the process of what needed to be done, and how he was going to handle it. I never felt as though I asked a stupid question as he always took the time to explain what happened or what was going to happen. This man knows his stuff and works endless hours to get you what you deserve.” R. Hyle Carlisle, PA March 2014


When you receive the Notice of Ability to Return to Work, it usually means that a doctor has released you to do work on a modified or light duty basis. Which doctor the form comes from is an important consideration in determining what to do with the Notice. The Notice of Ability to Return to Work does not necessarily mean you must go back to work. Only if your employer offers you work within the medical restrictions attached to the Notice, do you have to respond. The Notice of light duty restrictions alone does not impact your entitlement to wage loss benefits. Many times the source of the medical opinion that you are ready to return to work is the insurance company doctor who has performed an “independent” medical examination (IME).
The Notice, also called the Section 306(b)(3) Notice, must inform the worker with the following information:
• the nature of the worker’s physical condition or change in condition;
• the work restrictions, if any (modified/light duty, hours per day work can be done);
• that the injured worker has an obligation to return to work or look for available employment;
• that proof of available employment that a worker turned down may jeopardize the injured worker’s right to receive ongoing or future benefits;
• and that the injured worker has the right to consult an attorney.
Before a workers’ compensation insurance company can release a worker to return to work for modified duty or file a Petition to Terminate, Modify or Suspend Compensation Benefits, a Notice of Ability to Return to Work form must be issued. If a worker feels that he is unable to work within the guidelines of the Notice of Ability to Work at the time it is received, he should consult with his own doctor for a second evaluation and consult with an attorney regarding the legal considerations of what to do to protect their interest in response to the notice. It is better to be prepared then to pay catch up with tight time constraints in responding to job offers from the employer or Judge’s request for contrary medical opinions. In short, it is merely a form that advises you of some doctors current restrictions. However, it may be used against you in a number of ways.


Claimant was employed as a clerk with Josten’s, Inc in State College, PA. On January 18, 2010, she injured her right shoulder while working, and has been receiving workers’ compensation wage loss benefits for total disability (total earning loss caused by the work injury) through Phoenix Insurance Company.

Employer filed a Modification Petition based on a Labor Market Survey conducted by Mitchell Schmidt, M.Ed. WCJ Robert Vonada in Altoona, PA was assigned to the petition. Claimant argued that Jostens, Inc. had a specific job vacancy available at the time of the vocational interview that Claimant could perform, which was not offered to her, and that the Labor Market Survey could not be used to decrease or stop her workers’ compensation benefits.

Mr. Schmidt had a vocational interview with Claimant, who told Mr. Schmidt she could work if it did not involve pulling or lifting with her right arm. Mr. Schmidt then found clerk, customer service, clerical, front desk, designing, receptionist, hostess and cashier jobs with other local employers which he felt Claimant could perform. However, Claimant felt she could perform the personalization clerk job that Jostens was seeking to hire someone to perform.

Dr. Gregory Billy and Dr. William Prebola testified on behalf of Josten’s, Inc. They said that Claimant could perform the jobs found by Mr. Schmidt with other employers.

WCJ Vonada denied Josten’s Modification Petition, as there was a position with Josten’s between the time of the issuance of the 306(b)(3) Notice Of Ability To Return To Work Form (issued before the vocational interview) and filing of the Modification Petition that Claimant was capable of performing, and it was not offered to Claimant. The Judge ordered that Claimant’s workers’ compensation wage loss benefits were to continue at the total disability rate. The Judge further found an unreasonable contest, and ordered the payment of attorney fees of $2,947.50 to the injured worker, along with costs of litigation.


Yes. As long as your workers’ compensation benefits have been properly accepted, the insurance company cannot stop your checks without a signed agreement or court order. Settlement negotiations are not an exception to that rule. You should continue to receive your checks throughout the whole settlement negotiation process. Your weekly compensation checks will not stop because you made a settlement offer. You will want to hire an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to help you navigate a possible settlement. This attorney will be able to explain the pros and cons of settlement of your workers’ compensation case, as well as give you a settlement value. Studies show that injured workers receive much more money with an attorney than without. Once a settlement has been reached in a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case, a hearing will need to be scheduled in front of a workers’ compensation judge. The settlement paperwork (AKA Compromise and Release documents) will be signed before the hearing with your workers’ compensation attorney explaining the details of the agreement. You will be paid your weekly or biweekly workers’ compensation benefits up until the date of the hearing and then they will stop.

The law firm of Calhoon & Associates represents injured workers and those seeking Social Security Disability throughout Pennsylvania, including but not limited to, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pottsville, Allentown, Reading, Bloomsburg, Easton, Bethlehem, Norristown, Bristol, Williamsport, State College, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Lancaster, Waynesboro, York and all cities in Bucks County, Chester County, Columbia County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Montgomery County, Monroe County, Montour County, Northampton County, Northumberland County, Philadelphia County, Pike County, Schuylkill County, Wyoming County and York County, PA. Our offices are located at 2411 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA and 14 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chambersburg, PA, and we can arrange for meeting locations at law offices throughout the State.

Calhoon & Associates
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
14 North Main Street
Suite 309
Chambersburg, PA 17201


All Pennsylvania employers are required to have Workers Compensation Insurance with a very few exceptions. Certain large employers can be Self-Insured which means that they have applied to the Bureau of Workers Compensation and have been given a special licence to write their own Workers Compensation policies. All of the Rules and Regulations of the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Law have to be followed. All Pennsylvania Employers are required to post the name of their Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier at the workplace. Sometime, smaller employers, financially troubled employers or crooked employers will “go bare” meaning they violate the Law and fail to get Workers Compensation Insurance. Sometimes, employers do a variation of going bare: they will claim that they do not have any employees, only independent contractors. Any employer who won’t provide the name of their Workers Comp Carrier or who say they are going to “take care of this ourselves, no need to report this, we will take care of you” should be viewed with suspicion. BE CAREFUL! There is a special fund in Pennsylvania which pays Workers Compensation claims where an employer fails to have Workers Comensation insurance . However, injured workers are required to give Notice to the Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund within 120 days of the date they knew or should have known that their Employer did not have coverage. Many times the injured worker dosen’t know, or, if they do know, they are unaware that the clock is ticking on the 120 days to give Notice to the UEGF. Even many lawyers don’t know about this Fund or the notice requirement. Quick legal action to protect your rights is required when you have a serious injury at work and you know or suspect that your Employer does not have Workers Compensation Insurance. You can also recover directly against the employer. It is a criminal offense to not have workers’ comp insurance and these cases are routinely prosecuted in PA.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented an on-line complaint form for “whistleblowers”. An employee who notifies OSHA regarding unsafe or unhealthful conditions, or other exercised rights under the law, and whose employer retaliates or discharges the employee because of it, can file a complaint via OSHA’s website. This complaint must allege that the employee engaged in activity protected by the whistleblower provisions of the law, the employer knew about the suspected activity, the employer subjected the employee to an adverse action or threatened such action, and the protected activity motivated or contributed to the adverse action.

The complaint can be found at: https://www.osha.gov/whistleblower/WBComplaint.html


An issue that is often at the heart of worker’s compensation litigation involves the calculation of the worker’s Average Weekly Wage. Many topics involving the correct calculation of the Claimant’s Average Weekly Wage are covered on this site. (For a recap on Calculating Partial Disability click here; for an explanation of how a Compensation Rate should be calculated see here; for an explanation of how Overtime factors in see here.) One topic that can be very difficult for an injured worker (and for some workers’ comp attorneys) to understand is how the transition from part-time work to full-time work can impact a person’s Average Weekly Wage (or AWW). Fortunately for injured workers, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision in which they found that, in some scenarios, an injured worker who had been working part-time before becoming a full-time employee and was subsequently injured, may have his or her AWW calculated solely on the basis of full-time work.
In the case of Hannaberry HVAC and Donegal Mutual Insurance Companies v. WCAB (Snyder, JR.), the PA Supreme Court was confronted with a difficult scenario involving what hours should be used in calculating an injured worker’s average weekly wage. [Your compensation rate is determined from the A.W.W.] In this case, an employee had been working for a company part-time while he attended school. Once the employee graduated from school, he began working full-time with the same employer. A few months after transitioning to full-time work, the claimant was injured in the course of his employment. The insurance company accepted the injury, but calculated the employee’s average weekly wage based upon the previous year. This calculation lead to a much lower average weekly wage and comp rate than a calculation based upon full-time work would have.
In addressing the issue of the average weekly wage, the court looked to the workers’ comp regulations and found that this specific situation was not addressed by Section 309 of the Act. The court found through a thorough reading of the Act, that “a fair ascertainment” of the employee’s wages was the intent of the legislature. The court also pointed to other situations which are accounted for under Section 309 for guidance. One such scenario is when shortly after beginning a new job, an employee is injured. Under Section 309(d), that employee’s average weekly wage should be based upon the employee’s expectation of wages, including any overtime the employee expected to work, because that is a more accurate depiction of what the injured worker is actually missing out on. By applying that reasoning, and the general “overall humanitarian purpose of the Act”, the court found that when there is a paradigm shift from part-time to full-time work, and an employee has completed at least one full thirteen week period of full-time work, the average weekly wage should be calculated based solely upon the full-time hours that the employee worked.
This situation is just another reminder that it is always important to review the insurer’s determination of your average weekly wage. Even a small discrepancy can be worth tens of thousands of dollars to your case. In most cases we review (about 80% of the time), we find the AWW was miscalculated not in the injured workers’ favor.


When an employee is injured on the job, the worker’s top priority has to be recovering from the injury. An uncomfortable situation which can cause undue stress occurs when the workers comp insurance company attempts to force the injured worker into undergoing treatment that is unwanted.
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer/insurer may ask a Judge to suspend the benefits of a worker dealing with work-injury if the employee refuses to undergo recommended treatment that is deemed reasonable. In determining whether a recommended treatment is reasonable, the employer must show (1) it is highly probable that the medical treatment will cure the problem; and (2) it is highly probable that the medical treatment will enhance the employee’s prospects of gainful and fulfilling employment. Luckily for the injured worker, this is a high threshold for the employer to meet. In a certain fact pattern, a PA case has held that for these purposes 50% is not “highly probable”. PA courts have gone so far to say that when surgery is involved, an 80% chance of a good to excellent result, was not enough to meet this burden. An employee may also establish, by medical evidence, that he or she is not a good candidate for treatment such as surgery due to his or her own complicating factors. Such complicating factors may include non-work-related health issues such as high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and psychiatric problems.
If you are injured on the job, recovering from your injury must be your top priority. You should accept medical treatment to improve your health, not because you are concerned that refusal to undergo treatment would result in loss of your workers’ compensation benefits. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us and we will provide the answers free of charge.


The general rule is workers’ compensation insurance carrier is allowed to get your medical records. It is typical for the insurance company to get records when you are first injured in order to investigate the claim. They can only do this with your signed consent and any such consent should be of a limited duration. Also, when a petition is pending before a workers’ compensation judge, workers’ compensation may subpoena medical records that are material and relevant to the petition. Your attorney is also required to produce any medical records in their possession they want to use in your case. This includes records for work-related treatment, and could also include records for treatment that was not work-related.

However, the courts have held that the PA workers’ compensation insurance carrier, employer, nurse case manager or defense counsel are not permitted to talk to your doctors if you are represented by an attorney without the attorney being present. They are not allowed to discuss your treatment, recommend other treatment options, or in any way attempt to influence your treating doctors. This is because your doctor must be loyal you, cannot risk disclosing medical information that is irrelevant to the workers’ compensation claim, or be accused of breach of privacy. Also, direct communication with your doctor is not allowed as defense counsel may seek to improperly influence the doctor or convince him not to testify on your behalf. When an injured worker files a workers compensation claim, she is putting her physical condition under the legal spotlight and the Workers Comp Insurance carrier is entitled to medical records. The treating doctor owes a duty of loyalty to the patient; however, and the doctor /patient relationship still exists. The WC defense attorney does not have the right to speak to the doctor unless the patient ort her attorney agree. This is a complicated area of law and medicine and there are overlapping duties and requirements. As a general rule, medical records are disclosed in a comp claim. Anything more than thatsuch as the treating doctor speaking to the WC insurance lawyer may be privileged; even when the doctor is a panel doctor, ie, on the list of medical providers with which the injured worker must treat during the first 90 days of treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns about your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits or improper communication with your doctor, call the attorney at Calhoon & Associates for a free consultation, a free case review or free case management.

The law firm of Calhoon & Associates represents injured workers and Social Security Disability applicants throughout Pennsylvania, including (but not limited to): Allentown, Altoona, Bellefonte, Bethlehem, Bloomsburg, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Easton, Enola, Fayetteville, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hazelton, Hollidaysburg, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lewisburg, Lewistown, McConnellsburg, Mechanicsburg, Mifflintown, Millersburg, Milton, New Bloomfield, Newport, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Pottsville, Reading, Scranton, Shippensburg, State College, Sunbury, Uniontown, Washington, Wellsboro, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, York and all cities and towns in Adams County, Allegheny County, Berks County, Blair County, Bucks County, Centre County, Chester County, Clinton County, Columbia County, Cumberland County, Dauphin County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Huntingdon County, Juniata County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Mifflin County, Montgomery County, Northumberland County, Perry County, Philadelphia County, Schuylkill County, Tioga County, Union County, Washington County and York County, Pennsylvania.

Calhoon & Associates
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110

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Yes. While receiving PA workers’ compensation benefits, you may attend school or some other form of retraining, usually offered by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. While attending school, workers’ compensation should consider your class schedule when making any job offers or conducting a Labor Market Survey. If your class schedule is not accommodated, your workers’ compensation benefits may not be modified or suspended, as the position is not considered within your work capabilities. The courts have stated that “whether a position will accommodate a claimant’s college retraining under the Vocational Rehabilitation Act is a relevant consideration in determining whether the position is available to the claimant.” Every case is different and you should consult with an attorney as whether your class schedule can be used a shield against a labor market survey modification of your benefits, to timing of school, OVR grants, and timing of workers’ comp settlement as it relates to attending school or college.


Harrisburg’s best workers’ compensation lawyers

Attorney Ron Calhoun is extremely hardworking and helpful. The staff in his office were supportive and responsive. Although my case was trying he came out with flying colors. I would definitely recommend him as one of Harrisburg’s best workers’ compensation lawyers. 2-18-14 Shirley H. Harrisburg, PA


If you have just received a Labor Market Survey prepared by a vocational counselor for your Employer, it lists jobs the vocational counselor hired by the workers’ compensation carrier “thinks” you are capable of performing, along with the wages you could be expected to earn from the jobs. Now what do you do? You should consider immediately applying for the jobs listed in the Labor Market Survey and track:

• The date you applied for the job
• The name of the employer
• The type of job
• The actual physical requirements of the job
• The actual wages and expected number of hours
• Any response received from the employer
• Whether the job was actually open and available when you applied for it (the position has not been filled and the employer is still hiring)

Tracking this information will assist your attorney in defending against a Modification or Suspension Petition based on the Labor Market Survey. In order to use the Labor Market Survey to reduce or stop workers’ compensation wage loss benefits, your Employer must show that the jobs are meaningful employment opportunities, that they remained open until you had a reasonable amount of time to apply for them, and that you are capable of doing the jobs.

If you have received a Labor Market Survey, or had a Suspension or Modification Petition filed against you, the experienced attorneys at Calhoon & Associates, P.C. can help. Please feel free call us for a free consultation for more ideas and tips on how to win.


The Pennsylvania (PA) Department of Labor & Industry has determined the statewide average weekly wage for injuries occurring on and after Jan. 1, 2014, shall be $932.00 per week. This means the maximum anyone can receive for a workers’ compensation check for a work injury is $917.00 per week. For purposes of calculating the update to payments for medical treatment to medical providers is the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage which is 1.6 percent.
Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, most injured workers are entitled to indemnity (wage-loss) benefits equal to two-thirds of their average weekly wage for a work-related injury. However, there are minimum and maximum adjustments provided in the Act, and the benefit rate is set using the annual maximum in place at the time of injury. The maximum is based on the Department of Labor and Industry’s calculation of the statewide average weekly wage. For a FREE review to make sure your weekly compensation rate was correctly (often times it is under calculated) calculated (including overtime and bonuses), feel free to contact calhoon & associates, Central PA Workers’ Comp attorneys, at 1-877-291-9675 (work) or at www.workinjuryinpa.com The schedules provided on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s site provide weekly rates from calendar year 2009to 2014.


Mr. Calhoon personally came to my home after me contacting his firm. He sat down and explained everything in detail pertaining to my case. It was the first time in over a year and a half that I have had peace of mind due to this work related injury. He also directed me towards excellent physicians, whom are helping me to manage the pain and also give me excellent care. I was beside myself with worry, after my initial workman’s compensation doctor refused to do another MRI unless I consented yet to another surgery. I had no idea of my legal rights. After Mr. Calhoon reviewed my paperwork, which I thankfully kept it all, he concluded that I was entitled to see another physician for a second opinion. In addition, Mr. Calhoon discovered that the workman’s compensation insurance company, PMA was under paying me every week all this time by not properly calculating my comp rate. I would never have questioned this in detail. Thank the heavens above for honest, straight shooting attorney’s like Mr. Calhoon. Jane G., Northumberland, PA


No. Work related medical bills from the work injury not fully paid by the employer of the workers’ compensation insurance can not be charged or billed to the injured worker. Under the PA Workers’ Compensation Act, Section 127.211 (a) of the Rules and Regulations states that:
(a) A provider may hold an employee liable for costs related to care or services rendered in connection with a compensable injury under the Act. A provider may not bill for, or otherwise attempt to recover from the employee, the difference between the provider’s charge and the amount paid by the insurer.

In other words, balance billing by your medical provider is illegal. Workers’ cop medical treatment is paid at a certain rate and when the provider accepts a patient injured at work, the medical provider has accepted to be reimbursed at the workers’ comp fee schedule rate. If the provider has a problem with the rate, the provider may file a fee dispute against the carrier or employer, but not against the injured worker.

A practical problem is that the Workers Compensation Act doesn’t provide for a way of stopping doctors who bill their patients for a work-related injury. You should ask your lawyer to contact the doctor and point out the language of the Regulation and take further steps if need be.


No. Work related medical bills from the work injury not paid by the employer of the workers’ compensation insurance that were found to be unreasonable and unnecessary by a utilization review can not be charged or billed to the injured worker. Under the PA Workers’ Compensation Act, Section 127.211 (b) of the Rules and Regulations states that:
(b) A provider may not bill for, or otherwise attempt to recover from the employe, charges for treatment or services determined to be unreasonable or unnecessary…
A practical problem is that the Workers Compensation Act does not provide for a way of stopping doctors who bill their patients for a work-related injury. You should ask your lawyer to contact the doctor and point out the language of the Regulation and take further steps if need be.


January 15, 2014

The Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 25 NEW Compassionate Allowances conditions making the total number of disabling conditions to 225. The Compassionate Allowances program speeds up disability decisions for those with the most serious disabilities. The new conditions include disorders that affect the digestive, neurological, immune, and multiple body systems. So far, almost 200,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this fast-track disability program.

The new conditions are:
2.Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor
3.Chronic Idiopathic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction
4.Coffin- Lowry Syndrome
6.Giant Axonal Neuropathy
7.Hoyeaal-Hreidarsson Syndrome
8.Intracranial Hemangiopericytoma
9.Joubert Syndrome
10.Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis
11.Liposarcoma- metastatic or recurrent
12.Malignant Ectomesenchymoma
13.Malignant Renal Rhabdoid Tumor
14.Marshall-Smith Syndrome
15.Oligodendroglioma Brain Tumor- Grade III
16.Pallister-Killian Syndrome
17.Progressive Bulbar Palsy
18.Prostate Cancer – Hormone Refractory Disease – or with visceral metastases
19.Revesz Syndrome
20.Seckel Syndrome
21.Sjogren-Larsson Syndrome
22.Small Cell Cancer of the Thymus
23.Soft Tissue Sarcoma- with distant metastases or recurrent
24.X-Linked Lymphoproliferative Disease
25.X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy

Other conditions eligible for the compassionate allowance program are:

Acute Leukemia

Adrenal Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent

Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Adult Onset Huntington Disease

Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome

Alexander Disease (ALX) – Neonatal and Infantile

Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome

Alobar Holoprosencephaly

Alpers Disease

Alpha Mannosidosis – Type II and III

Alstrom Syndrome

Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma

Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Anaplastic Adrenal Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent

Angelman Syndrome


Aortic Atresia

Aplastic Anemia

Astrocytoma – Grade III and IV

Ataxia Telangiectasia

Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor

Batten Disease

Beta Thalassemia Major

Bilateral Optic Atrophy- Infantile

Bilateral Retinoblastoma

Bladder Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable

Breast Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable

Canavan Disease (CD)

Carcinoma of Unknown Primary Site

Caudal Regression Syndrome – Types III and IV

Cerebro Oculo Facio Skeletal (COFS) Syndrome

Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis

Child Neuroblastoma – with distant metastases or recurrent

Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma – recurrent

Child T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma

Chondrosarcoma – with multimodal therapy

Chronic Idiopathic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) – Blast Phase

Coffin-Lowry Syndrome

Congenital Lymphedema

Cornelia de Lange Syndrome

Corticobasal Degeneration

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) – Adult

Cri du Chat Syndrome

Degos Disease – Systemic

DeSanctis Cacchione Syndrome

Dravet Syndrome

Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18)

Eisenmenger Syndrome

Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma

Endomyocardial Fibrosis

Ependymoblastoma (Child Brain Tumor)

Erdheim Chester Disease

Esophageal Cancer


Ewing Sarcoma

Farber’s Disease (FD) – Infantile

Fatal Familial Insomnia

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva

Follicular Dendritic Cell Sarcoma – metastatic or recurrent

Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA)

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Picks Disease -Type A – Adult

Fryns Syndrome

Fucosidosis – Type 1

Fukuyama Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

Fulminant Giant Cell Myocarditis

Galactosialidosis – Early and Late Infantile Types

Gallbladder Cancer

Gaucher Disease (GD) – Type 2

Giant Axonal Neuropathy

Glioblastoma Multiforme (Adult Brain Tumor)

Glioma Grade III and IV

Glutaric Acidemia – Type II

Head and Neck Cancers – with distant metastasis or inoperable or unresectable

Heart Transplant Graft Failure

Heart Transplant Wait List – 1A/1B

Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) – Familial Type


Hepatopulmonary Syndrome

Hepatorenal Syndrome

Histiocytosis Syndromes

Hoyeaal-Hreidarsson Syndrome

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome


Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis Syndrome

Hypophosphatasia Perinatal (Lethal) and Infantile Onset Types

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

I Cell Disease

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Intracranial Hemangiopericytoma

Infantile Free Sialic Acid Storage Disease

Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD)

Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

Jervell and Lange-Nielsen Syndrome

Joubert Syndrome

Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa – Lethal Type

Juvenile Onset Huntington Disease

Kidney Cancer – inoperable or unresectable

Krabbe Disease (KD) – Infantile

Kufs Disease – Type A and B

Large Intestine Cancer – with distant metastasis or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent

Late Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses

Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Recipient

Leigh’s Disease


Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis

Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome (LNS)

Lewy Body Dementia

Liposarcoma – metastatic or recurrent


Liver Cancer

Lowe Syndrome

Lymphomatoid Granulomatosis – Grade III

Malignant Brain Stem Gliomas – Childhood

Malignant Ectomesenchymoma

Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

Malignant Germ Cell Tumor

Malignant Melanoma – with metastases

Malignant Multiple Sclerosis

Malignant Renal Rhabdoid Tumor

Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)

Maple Syrup Urine Disease

Marshall-Smith Syndrome

Mastocytosis – Type IV

MECP2 Duplication Syndrome

Medulloblastoma – with metastases

Menkes Disease – Classic or Infantile Onset Form

Merkel Cell Carcinoma – with metastases

Merosin Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD) – Late Infantile

Mitral Valve Atresia

Mixed Dementias

MPS I, formerly known as Hurler Syndrome

MPS II, formerly known as Hunter Syndrome

MPS III, formerly known as Sanfilippo Syndrome

Mucosal Malignant Melanoma

Multicentric Castleman Disease

Multiple System Atrophy

Myoclonic Epilepsy with Ragged Red Fibers Syndrome

Neonatal Adrenoleukodystrophy

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis

Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation – Types 1 and 2

NFU-1 Mitochondrial Disease

Niemann-Pick Disease (NPD) – Type A

Niemann-Pick Disease-Type C

Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer – with metastases to or beyond the hilar nodes or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent

Obliterative Bronchiolitis

Ohtahara Syndrome

Oligodendroglioma Brain Tumor – Grade III

Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) Deficiency

Orthochromatic Leukodystrophy with Pigmented Glia

Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) – Type II

Osteosarcoma, formerly known as Bone Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable

Ovarian Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable

Pancreatic Cancer

Pallister-Killian Syndrome

Paraneoplastic Pemphigus

Patau Syndrome (Trisomy 13)

Pearson Syndrome

Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease-Classic Form

Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease-Connatal Form

Peripheral Nerve Cancer – metastatic or recurrent

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal Mucinous Carcinomatosis

Perry Syndrome

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pompe Disease – Infantile

Primary Cardiac Amyloidosis

Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma

Primary Effusion Lymphoma

Primary Progressive Aphasia

Progressive Bulbar Palsy

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Prostate Cancer – Hormone Refractory Disease – or with visceral metastases

Pulmonary Atresia

Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma

Retinopathy of Prematurity – Stage V

Rett (RTT) Syndrome

Revesz Syndrome


Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata

Roberts Syndrome

Salivary Tumors

Sandhoff Disease

Schindler Disease – Type 1

Seckel Syndrome

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency – Childhood

Single Ventricle

Sjogren-Larsson Syndrome

Sinonasal Cancer

Small Cell Cancer (of the Large Intestine, Ovary, Prostate, Thymus, or Uterus)

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Small Intestine Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent

Smith Lemli Opitz Syndrome

Soft Tissue Sarcoma – with distant metastases or recurrent

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) – Types 0 and 1

Spinal Nerve Root Cancer-metastatic or recurrent

Spinocerebellar Ataxia

Stiff Person Syndrome

Stomach Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent

Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis

Tabes Dorsalis

Tay Sachs Disease – Infantile Type

Thanatophoric Dysplasia – Type 1

The ALS/Parkinsonism Dementia Complex

Thyroid Cancer

Transplant Coronary Artery Vasculopathy

Tricuspid Atresia

Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

Ureter Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent

Usher Syndrome – Type I

Walker Warburg Syndrome

Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome

Wolman Disease

X-Linked Lymphoproliferative Disease

X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy

Xeroderma Pigmentosum

Zellweger Syndrome


It is because Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability do not decide your entitlement to benefits the same way. They have different burdens of proof.
Under Pennsylvania law, you receive workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured at work. To determine if you can receive benefits, workers’ compensation only looks at the injury or medical condition that was caused by work, and how that injury or condition is affecting your earning loss. In PA workers’ comp, disability means earning loss. Your earning loss is measured against your not earning what you used to earn doing your job. A barber or concert pianist with a thumb injury is totally disabled under PA workers’ compensation and not entitled to SSD. An attorney with a thumb injury, suffers no earning loss and would not be entitled to workers’ compensation (except payment of the work related medical bills). So it is quite possible to receive SSD, but not receive Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits, or vice versa.
However, to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD), the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at all medical conditions and injuries that have lasted or are expected to last more than 12 months, and severely affect your ability to work your old job and ALSO in the general economy. To get SSD, you have to be disabled from substantial gainful employment, including jobs you have never done or heard of. But SSA also looks at your age, education and work experience; whereas, workers’ compensation does not initially look at those factors in awarding initial entitlement to benefits.
Because SSA looks at all medical conditions and workers’ compensation only looks at a specific injury or condition and because they have drastically different definitions of disability, you can receive one benefit and not the other. PA workers’ compensation and SSD each perform their own independent review of whether you can receive benefits based on completely different factors.
If you find yourself in this situation, or need any help or have any questions regarding Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation or Social Security Disability Benefits, please call Calhoon & Associates at (877) 291-WORK (9675).

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Calhoon & Associates
2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-695-4722
Toll Free: 877-291-WORK (9675)
Fax: 717-695-4988
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Calhoon & Associates
14 North Main Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201
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Calhoon & Associates

2411 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-695-4722
Fax: 717-695-4988

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