Duquesne Law Review


David B. Torrey


The Pennsylvania law governing an injured worker's "partial disability" status and right to vocational rehabilitation under the Workmen's Compensation Act is governed exclusively by court cases rather than by statute. The rule established by these court precedents constitute what is commonly referred to as the doctrine of "job availability," and are found in two categories of judicial decisions. The first set of cases establishes precisely what job availability consists of, and what an employer must demonstrate under the Pennsylvania Act to suspend or otherwise reduce its liability by showing a claimant's transition to partial disability. The second set of cases deals with the more thorny issue of when the job availability showing must be undertaken. This article undertakes a critical analysis of the historical development of the job availability doctrine, seeks to set forth the contemporary positive law of the doctrine, and analyzes the need in Pennsylvania for a statutory law of partial disability and vocational rehabilitation.

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