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WARREN CAR COMPANY AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/08/79)

decided: March 8, 1979.

WARREN CAR COMPANY AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND WESLEY M. CRESSLEY, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Wesley M. Cressley v. Warren Car Company, No. A-72840.

COUNSEL

James P. Lay, III, with him Gifford and Lay, for petitioners.

Bernard J. Hessley, for respondents.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 41 Pa. Commw. Page 142]

On April 2, 1971, Wesley M. Cressley (claimant) was injured in the course of his employment when a crane cable supporting a railroad car slipped, dropping the car on his left hand. During the period of April 2, 1971 to October 11, 1974, the claimant was under

[ 41 Pa. Commw. Page 143]

    the care of various physicians and surgeons who, in addition to treating the injuries to the hand, endeavored to rehabilitate or reconstruct the injured hand. On October 11, 1974, Dr. William L. White, a noted plastic surgeon, determined that nothing more could be done to further reconstruct the claimant's hand.

Following the claimant's injury on April 2, 1971, an agreement was entered into between the claimant and his employer under the terms of which claimant was paid $60 per week for total disability, beginning April 10, 1971. On October 21, 1974, the employer filed a termination petition asserting that claimant's disability had resolved itself into a specific loss of his left hand and that the claimant had been paid more weeks of total disability than he was entitled to under the specific-loss provisions of Section 306(c) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. ยง 513.

A referee found that the claimant had suffered a specific loss of his left hand and allowed the employer credit for all compensation paid since April 3, 1971. Claimant appealed this decision to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which held that the claimant had suffered a specific loss of his left hand but, since the claimant had been under the care of various physicians until October 11, 1974, in an attempt to salvage his hand, the injury did not resolve itself into a specific loss until that date, and the employer was not entitled to a credit for compensation paid prior to October 11, 1974. This appeal by the employer followed and we reluctantly reverse.

In Killian v. Heintz Division Kelsey Hayes, 468 Pa. 200, 207-08, 360 A.2d 620, 624 (1976), our Supreme Court set forth the applicable law by citing with approval from our case of Carnovale v. Supreme Clothes, Inc., 7 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 253, 298 A.2d 640 (1973):

[ 41 Pa. Commw. Page 144]

'In cases of specific loss claims, the well-established rule is that an employee who sustains an injury adjudged compensable under Section 306(c) of the Workmen's Compensation Act (77 P.S. 513) is not entitled to additional compensation, beyond that provided under Section 306(c), even though he may be totally disabled by the injury. Yanik v. Pittsburgh Terminal Coal Corporation, 105 Pa. Super. 148, 27 ...


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