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Workers' Compensation

Pennsylvania: Psychologist’s Testimony Not Competent to Rebut IRE Evidence Submitted by Employer

A Pennsylvania appellate court held that while a psychologist may provide competent testimony in the claim petition context, if a claimant seeks to rebut competent impairment rating evaluation evidence, he or she must present evidence of similar character—i.e., evidence of rating evaluations performed only by those persons the General Assembly has deemed qualified to engage in rating evaluations—osteopathic or medical doctors. The court held the WCJ and Board erred, therefore, in concluding that the testimony of a non-medical expert (in this case a psychologist) regarding the rating of a claimant’s condition was competent for the purpose of rebutting the IRE evidence submitted by an employer. The court also disagreed with the WCJ’s conclusion that, because the AMA Guides anticipated that non-medical psychologists would consult and use the AMA Guides for diagnosis and treatment purposes, workers’ compensation judges could accept non-medical testimony to support a claimant’s position. The court stressed that the courts and the Board were constrained not by the terms of the AMA Guides, but rather by the Act and applicable regulations.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Commonwealth of Pa./DPW - Loysville Youth Center v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Slessler), 2014 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 519 (Oct. 30, 2014) [2014 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 519 (Oct. 30, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 130.05 [130.05]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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