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FRANK HELSTROM v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/30/79)

decided: May 30, 1979.

FRANK HELSTROM, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND BUCKS COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Frank Helstrom v. Bucks County Community College, No. A-73948.

COUNSEL

Harold F. Kaufman, for petitioner.

Ronald F. Bove, with him Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for respondents.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Rogers and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 114]

Frank Helstrom (Petitioner) brings this appeal from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) reversing a referee's decision which had granted workmen's compensation benefits to Petitioner. The only issue presented for our consideration is whether Petitioner's claim was barred by the statute of limitations found in Section 315 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 602 (Act). We hold that the claim was barred and, accordingly, we affirm.

There is no dispute as to the facts of this case. Petitioner sustained a work-related injury to his right eye while working for Bucks County Community College (Employer) on January 14, 1971. The injury resulted in the total loss of vision in the eye. Following Petitioner's accident, he was hospitalized and missed approximately two weeks of work. During this two week period, Employer paid Petitioner his full wages even though Petitioner performed no work for Employer. In February, 1971, Petitioner was hospitalized for two days because of the work-related injury. Again, Employer paid Petitioner his full wages for those two days. Petitioner was not hospitalized again because of the injury until April, 1974, when he underwent further surgery on the eye. At that time, he was absent from work for two weeks during which time Employer paid him his full wages. On September 20, 1974, Petitioner filed a petition to recover specific loss benefits because of the work-related injury. The parties agree that if Petitioner is entitled to benefits he should receive $60.00 per week.

Section 315 of the Act as it applies to this case provided that:

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 115]

In cases of personal injury all claims for compensation shall be forever barred, unless, within two years after the accident, the parties shall have agreed upon the compensation payable under this article; or unless within two years after the accident, one of the parties shall have filed a petition as provided in article four hereof. . . . Where, however, payments of compensation have been made in any case, said limitations shall not take effect until the expiration of two years from the time of the making of the most recent payment prior to date of filing such petitions: . . .

77 P.S. § 602.*fn1 Because Petitioner was injured on January 14, 1971 he originally had until January 14, 1973 to file a compensation petition. Employer's payment of compensation to Petitioner in February, 1971, extended the claim period to, at the latest, February 28, 1973.*fn2 The Employer argues that Petitioner's right to workmen's compensation benefits expired on February 28, 1973. Petitioner argues that the additional compensation paid by Employer in April, 1974, revived his right to file for benefits and that he had two years from that date to do so. The Board's interpretation of Section 315 is correct.

Our Courts have repeatedly held that:

[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page ...


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