Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Statute Still Tolled By Payment Of Medical Even Though Claim Necessary To Expand Description Of Injury

In Westinghouse Electric Corporation/CBS v. WCAB (Korach) the Employer continued to pay the Claimant's psychiatric expenses after commutation although the accepted injury was a back sprain. When the Employer stopped paying, the Claimant was out of the statute. The WCJ accepted the Claimant's evidence that the psychiatric condition arose out of the work injury, and found that the statute was tolled by the payment of medical. The Board affirmed. The Court also affirmed, although they did so by pulling out the Reinstatement of Contracts and finding it was the parties' intent in the commutation to continue to cover psychiatric expenses.

In the last two published cases, the Court has held the parties have a right to contract with respect to workers' compensation benefits. Parties should remember, however, that they cannot contract to reduce the Claimant's rights or to impose responsibilities on the Claimant that the Act does not authorize. see "Issues Arising Under Compromise and Release Practice" July PBA Workers' Compensation Section Newsletter, Page 10, by Judge David B. Torrey.

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