According to the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Law Section and based upon Pennsylvania lifting the mask mandate, Workers’ Compensation offices are scheduled to reopen on August 16, 2021, throughout the Commonwealth. There are Workers’ Compensation Judges throughout PA, and each Judge has the flexibility and discretion as to whether they will schedule their hearings and mediations in person or virtually. The decision to go back in person or virtually can also depend on what type of hearing is involved.
If the hearings are settlement or status hearings, these most likely would have a better chance of being virtual as opposed to hearings requiring the injured worker’s (claimant’s) or other fact witness’ testimony, where the involved Judge would need to assess credibility.
Also, as part of the change, the PA Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board will still hear oral arguments virtually, but as of July 1, 2021, parties can request live oral arguments through the automated workers’ compensation system, WCAIS.
Lastly, the PA legislature passed legislation extending the suspension of the witness requirement for settlement agreements, known as Compromise & Release Agreements, as well as the notarization requirement for all Notification of Modification and Suspension Forms until September 30, 2021.If you have any questions about workers’ compensation procedures for your work injury, call Robinson Law, LLC 215.530.7166 or visit www.robinsonlwyr.com.