Monday, January 09, 2006

Commonwealth Court Holds Employer is Responsible for Repair and Replacement of Orthopedic Appliances Before They Fail

In D. Zuback v. WCAB (Paradise Valley Enterprise Lumber Co.) , the Claimant had stair glides installed after his injury, which invloved the loss of an arm and a leg. When the stair glides became worn out, the Employer and Insurnce Carrier denied repair or replacement of the equipment under Bombay v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board (South Erie Heating Co.), 572 A.2d 248 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1990). In that case, reasonable home modifications were made and additional home modifications were denied.

The stair guides were working, although wear and tear was evident in all parts of the mechanical operation. It was perhaps on this basis that the WCJ and Board denied the Claimant's request for repair or replacement. The Court, however, reversed and held the Employer and Insurer are responsible to (in this case) replace the stair glides before they fail as a reasonable home modification.

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