Oct. 25, 2021
HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives this week approved legislation authored by Rep. Rich Irvin (R-Huntingdon/Centre/Mifflin) that would allow for faster workers’ compensation claims settlements.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many regulations across our state government were suspended to allow government to continue working and serving the people during the public health crisis,” said Irvin. “One of the things we learned during that time is that some of these regulations can be suspended permanently in order to better serve the needs of individuals.”
Currently, within the workers’ compensation system, claimants who are eligible to receive a final lump-sum settlement on a claim – referred to as a Compromise and Release agreement – must have two witnesses see them sign the legal paperwork or have it signed before a notary. This is required even though the claimant would need to still be sworn in to testify that they understood the full legal significance of the agreement by a judge.
“My legislation would amend the current law to allow for a claimant to, instead, when appearing before a workers’ compensation judge, provide sworn testimony that he or she fully understands the agreement in place of having the agreement signed in front of two witnesses or a notary,” said Irvin.
Irvin noted these Compromise and Release agreements have led to a faster claims adjudication process by avoiding litigation and allowing parties to resolve contested issues without overburdening the workers’ compensation system. And by eliminating the signature verification component, the process would only be further streamlined.
“I will continue to work on this and other legislation in the General Assembly that serve to make Pennsylvania a more worker-friendly state,” concluded Irvin.
House Bill 1837
now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Rich Irvin
81st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman