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CARL GRASHA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/24/80)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: April 24, 1980.

CARL GRASHA, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PITTSBURGH, RESPONDENTS

Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Carl Grasha v. The School District of Pittsburgh, No. A-76369.

COUNSEL

Carl Grasha, petitioner, for himself.

David H. Dille, Assistant Solicitor, with him, Robert J. Stefanko, Solicitor, for respondent.

Judges Mencer, Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 13]

Carl Grasha (Claimant) has appealed from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), which affirmed the referee's dismissal of Claimant's claim petition.

Claimant suffered a head injury on March 18, 1975, while in the course of employment with the School District of Pittsburgh (Employer). Subsequently, the Employer filed a notice of compensation payable acknowledging Claimant's compensable injury. Compensation benefits were paid Claimant thereafter from the date of his injury until October 27, 1975, when the payments were discontinued due

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 14]

    to the Employer's filing of a workmen's compensation termination petition. After a hearing, the referee granted Employer's request to have Claimant's benefits terminated. Thereupon, Claimant appealed that decision to the Board where it is currently pending.

On March 16, 1978, Claimant filed the claim petition with which this appeal is concerned. In his present petition, Claimant claims compensation due for the disability caused him by his injury of March 18, 1975, which is the identical subject of the aforementioned termination petition appeal. The claim petition was dismissed by a referee, whose decision the Board affirmed.

Claimant argues to us that the Board cannot deny him his right under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 1 et seq., to file a claim petition for his continued protection. The Employer contends that the real issue within the appeal is whether or not Claimant has proceeded properly by filing a claim petition, while his appeal of the termination petition is pending before the Board.

The Act provides several methods by which the payment of compensation benefits may be initiated. The obvious purpose of any of these methods is to obtain a determination of whether the Claimant has suffered a compensable injury. In the case at hand, Claimant's benefits were initiated by a notice of compensation payable given him by the Employer under the provisions of Section 407 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 731.*fn1

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 15]

Since the Employer acknowledged the compensable injury, the Claimant had no need or right to resort to the alternative method of initiating benefits by filing a claim petition. When the payment of benefits was terminated under the provisions of Section 413 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 771,*fn2 Claimant's sole remedy was an appeal as provided by Section 423 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 853.*fn3

Thus, the Claimant's filing of a claim petition on March 16, 1978, is in contravention of the Act's established appeal process. Therefore, we uphold the

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 16]

Board's decision to affirm the dismissal of Claimant's claim petition, without prejudice, of course, to his rights in the proceeding appealing the termination of his benefits in 1975.

Order

And Now, this 24th day of April, 1980, the order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, dated May 23, 1979, dismissing the appeal of Carl Grasha, is hereby affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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