Impairment Rating Evaluation: The Defense Perspective

Andrew B. Klaber

ANDREW B. KLABER, the Managing Partner at Chartwell Law’s Pittsburgh Office, assists employers facing unique exposures in the maritime industries. A large portion of his practice revolves around administrative statutes such as Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation, Black Lung, and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Mr. Klaber represents numerous mid-sized corporations in the role of general counsel, providing guidance on employment issues, acquisition strategies, financing alternatives and risk management. Most recently, he...

In simple terms, the IRE allows the employer to cap a claimant’s entitlement to indemnity benefits under the Act. Assuming that the employer adheres to the Statute, and the guidance of the Courts, the IRE provisions can be effective in limiting wage loss wage loss exposure at 500 weeks of total disability benefits, beginning of the date of the IR exam. This 500 week period may begin to run as early as 104 weeks after the first receipt of TTD benefits. However, if the IRE request is untimely or the exam itself is delayed, the employer’s exposure may extend beyond 604 weeks of benefits. This brief summary of the process sets forth the basic framework for the IRE process and several practical suggestions for defense counsel.