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Commonwealth Court Considers Whether Caretaker Falls Within the Domestic Service Exception for Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation

In the matter of Van Leer v. WCAB, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court considered whether the injured worker’s duties as a caretaker for a woman suffering from mild dementia fell within the domestic service exception to the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation (WC) Act.  Under the “domestic service exception” any employee who at the time of injury is engaged in domestic service is not covered under the WC Act and therefore not eligible for Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation benefits.

The injured worker argued that her work was more akin to a nurse’s aid whose duties would fall under the WC Act.  The WCAB maintained that the injured worker’s duties more closely resembled the job of a baby sitter, with the only exception being the age of the person for whom she cared.  The Commonwealth Court agreed with the WCAB.  The Court recognized that the injured worker’s primary duties were: to make sure the client did not fall; get hurt; leave the house; assist the client with getting ready for bed; make sure the client took her medicine; and stay with the client while she slept.  Other than providing medicine, there was no type of medical care provided.

Therefore, the Commonwealth Court agreed that the exception applied and the injured worker was not eligible to receive Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation benefits.

If you are unsure if you are eligible to receive Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation benefits, you should speak with an experienced Pennsylvania worker’s compensation attorney.

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