Workers Compensation Decisions

Posted on: Jun 14th, 2017 by Bill Gregory

Below is a little case law that describes some of the requirements of the workers compensation decisions:

The WCAB scope of review is limited to determining whether there is substantial competent evidence to support necessary findings of fact made by the WCJ and whether the WCJ committed an error of law. Bethenergy Mines, Inc. v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board (Skirpan), 531 Pa. 287, 612 A.2d 434 (1992). The WCAB is bound by the findings of the WCJ unless there is no competent evidence of record to support those findings. Id.

The Board functions as an appellate body and its role is not to reweigh evidence or review the credibility of witnesses, but only to determine whether, upon consideration of the evidence as a whole, the judge’s findings have sufficient support in the record. Lehigh County Vo-Tech School v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board (Wolfe), 539 Pa. 322, 652 A.2d 797 (1995).

The Workers’ Compensation Act requires that a WCJ issue a reasoned decision, and the determination of a reasoned decision ultimately rests with the judiciary. Daniels v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Tristate Transport), 574 Pa. 61 (2003).  A decision is “reasoned” if the WCAB can review it without further elucidation and if it allows for adequate review by the appellate courts under the applicable standard of review. Id.

It is well established that an employer seeking to terminate benefits bears the burden of proving by substantial evidence that employee’s disability has ceased. Parker v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Dock Terrace Nursing Home), 729 A.2d 102, 104 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1999). Notwithstanding, where the only evidence presented by the employer is incompetent hearsay, even though it is admitted without objection, if it is not corroborated by other competent evidence, it cannot support a finding that the claimant has completely recovered. Tynan v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board (Associated Cleaning Consultant and Services, Inc.), 639 A.2d 856 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1994).

 

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