Finality of approved C&R:
DePue v. WCAB (N.Paone Construction, Inc., No. 1113 C.D. 2012; Filed: January 30, 2013.
Following a closed head injury, the parties settled the case by an indemnity only C&R. The C&R described the injuries as any and all injuries...including but not limited to the accepted injuries of a severe closed head injury with seizure disorder and short term memory loss. The employer agreed to pay all reasonable and necessary medical bills related to this injury. When the employer did not pay for treatment for the left shoulder, claimant filed Review and Penalty Petitions. The WCJ denied both petitions on basis that any additional injury should have been litigated before the C&R Agreement was approved. The WCJ also looked to the negotiations between the parties before the C&R where the left shoulder had been discussed, but ultimately not included in the Agreement. The Commonwealth Court affirmed and agreed that the C&R Agreement could not be amended once approved without appeal. This case is a classic example of why all C&R Agreements should be worded carefully, especially when medical payment obligations are ongoing. If the Agreement had specifically excluded the left shoulder, then litigation would have been avoided.