Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in case of George Fuhrman v. Clemens Supermarket, No. A-87244.
Mark B. Segal, Markowitz & Richman, for petitioner.
David L. Allebach, Jr., Reynier, Crocker, Allebach & Reber, P.C., for respondents.
Judges Craig, Doyle and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 578]
George Fuhrman (Claimant) appeals from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's denial of Claimant's petition for medical and hospital expenses arising from a work-related injury.
Claimant was employed by Clemens Supermarket (Employer) as a produce clerk when, on August 14,
[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 5791978]
, he fell from a truck while unloading produce and suffered a groin injury which included contusions of the penis and hemotoma of the anterior urethra resulting in urethral stricture. Claimant underwent various hospitalizations and medical procedures as a result of his injury and was compensated for these expenses by Employer's insurer. He also missed work on a full-time or part-time basis for various periods between August 14, 1978 and April 2, 1979. He received compensation under a notice of compensation payable and a supplemental agreement for his lost work. On April 2, 1979, Claimant returned to full-time employment with no loss of wages and signed a final receipt. He continued to accrue medical expenses after this date and was compensated for same until July 15, 1982. On this date, Employer's insurer advised Claimant that it would not reimburse him for medical costs accrued after April 2, 1982, because as of that date, three years had elapsed since he signed the final receipt which, according to Employer, barred a claim for medical expenses accruing more than three years after the date of the last compensation payment.
Claimant filed a claim petition with the Board for payment of his medical and hospital expenses incurred subsequent to April 2, 1982. The referee denied the claim on the basis of the three-year statute of limitations contained in Section 434 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act),*fn1 77 P.S. § 1001. The Board affirmed the denial on the same basis, also noting that it was treating the claim as a petition to set aside the final receipt.
Claimant now appeals to this Court, alleging that the statute of limitations contained in Section 434 is not applicable to the payment of medical expenses pursuant to Section 306(f) of the Act,*fn2 77 P.S. § 531. Alternatively,
[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 580]
he argues that if the statute of limitations is found to apply, the voluntary payment of medical expenses subsequent to the signing of the final receipt should operate to toll the statute, or the Employer should be estopped from relying upon the final receipt to trigger the statute by language in the final receipt which specifically ...