The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board has broad discretion under the Workers’ Compensation Act to award total disability benefits even when an injured worker is able to return to a job and earn wages, a sharply divided en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court has decided.

In a 4-3 decision in Allegheny Power Service Corp. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (Cockroft), PICS Case No. 08-1248 (Pa. Commw. July 22, 2008) Friedman, J.; Cohn Jubelirer, dissenting (26 pages), the court affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board’s decision upholding an award of total disability to an electric company worker who lost the use of both hands after suffering electrical burns.

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