Posted on Jan 16, 2014
If an injured worker has collected workers’ compensation indemnity benefits for an extended period of time, the insurance company will likely try to modify or suspend the workers’ wage loss benefits through a tool called a Labor Market Survey.
In a Labor Market Survey, the insurance company hires a vocational expert to put together a list of jobs that an injured worker could potentially perform given the worker’s work-related restrictions, the worker’s geographical area, and for which the worker might have the necessary transferable skills. These are not jobs that are provided or offered to the worker; these are jobs that simply exist and are open and available. By using the jobs in the Labor Market Survey, the vocational expert calculates an Earning Power Assessment, or the amount an injured worker could earn if he actually held one of these jobs. If a workers’ compensation judge finds the Earning Power Assessment to be credible, the judge may modify or suspend the worker’s wage loss benefits.
Until recently, the requirement that the jobs in the Labor Market Survey were “open and available” meant that jobs were to be open and available at the time the employer’s expert conducts the Labor Market Survey. This requirement has changed following the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Phoenixville Hospital v. WCAB (Shoap). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that for a job to be found to be “open and available”, the job must be open long enough to allow the claimant “is afforded a reasonable opportunity to apply for them” after the production of the Labor Market Survey. In this case, Claimant followed up with each potential employer by calling and applying for each job listed in the survey. The court stated “if the job is already filled, it does not exist” for purposes of the survey.
Going forward, this arms a Claimant with another tool when fighting against an unfair Labor Market Survey. If you have been contacted or think you might be contacted about undergoing a labor market survey, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Schmidt Kramer right away.
Our attorneys at Schmidt Kramer have precisely that level of experience in securing workers’ compensation claims for hundreds of satisfied past clients. If you are suffering from occupational repetitive stress injuries, there’s no reason you should suffer needlessly a day more than you have to. You can call us today to take advantage of our experience from the start, rather than wait for your claim to be denied by the insurance officials. Call our Harrisburg office today at 717-888-8888 locally or (888) 476-0807 toll-free to begin.