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Workmen's compensation. DeKalb Superior Court. Before Judge Hubert.
BELL, Presiding Judge.
Payments of compensation and medical expenses as without approval of the State Board of Workmen's Compensation were mere gratuities for which no credit could be taken by the employer.
On April 1, 1963, claimant received an award of workman's compensation reciting: "The employer is not entitled to take credit for any weeks previously held . . . not approved by the board . . . The employer and self insurer is directed to pay all reasonable medical bills incurred by the claimant as a result of his accidental injury of August 7, 1961, within the limits of the Act." The award did not expressly deny credit for medical expanses previously paid. The award was affirmed upon appeal to the superior court, and the judgment of the superior court was affirmed by this court in Baggett Transportation Co. v. Barnes, 109 Ga. App. 98 (135 SE2d 343).
Thereafter claimant wished to have an operation performed upon his back, and a controversy arose between claimant and employer concerning the continuance of medical treatment. Claimant contended that under the award of April 1, 1963, employer was liable for further medical treatment up to the total statutory amount of $1,500 (Code 114-501) without credit for payment of medical expenses made without approval of the board. Employer contended that even if credit could not be taken for such expanses employer was not liable after 10 weeks from date of injury for further medical expanses exceeding $375, an amount insufficient to cover expenses of the proposed surgical and hospital treatment.
On April 15, 1964, claimant requested a hearing on account of "(1) Controversy existing between parties as to amount of medical remaining and based upon previous award and court decision denying credit for medical paid without agreement or approval of board. (2) Change of physician. (3) Operation desired per attached report of Dr. James T. Green."
The board made an award on February 15, 1960 reciting, "Employer is hereby directed to comply with the decision of the Court of Appeals [Baggett Transportation Co. v. Barnes, supra] which does not permit credit for gratuitous payments of compensation and medical expenses and . . . to provide medical expenses not to exceed $1,500." Further, the award authorized a change of physicians and an operation by Dr. James T. Green, and assessed $200 attorney's fees against the employer.
Employer enumerates error on the judgment of the superior court affirming the award of February 15, 1965.
1. The employer now concedes that it is liable for medical expenses not previously paid up to the amount of $1,500, even if incurred after the expiration of 10 weeks from the date of injury. See Federal Ins. Co. v. Spooner, 107 Ga. App. 175, 177 (129 SE2d 214). However, employer still insists that the board had no authority to deny credit in the award of February 15, 1965, for medical expanses paid without approval of the board.
Code 114-501 provides: "In case of a controversy arising between the employer and the employee relative to the continuance of medical, surgical, hospital or other treatment, the State Board of Workmen's Compensation may order such further treatments as may in the discretion of the Board be necessary, within the limits of time and amount as sat forth above.
"The Board may at any time upon request of an employee order a change of physicians or treatment and designate other treatment or another physician as suggested by the injured employee subject to the approval of the Board, and in such a case the expense thereof shall be borne by the employer upon the same terms and conditions as hereinbefore provided in this section for medical and surgical treatment and attendance."
"A determination of the amount of credits due could be made by the board under an appropriate application for a hearing on the question, pursuant to the provisions of Code 114-715. This procedure would in no way have the affect of amending, varying or changing the award, but merely permits the application on the award of that credit which the law permits." Complete Auto Transit, Inc. v. Davis, 106 Ga. App. 369, 371 (126 SE2d 909). Payments of medical expenses without approval of the board were mare gratuities for which no credit could be taken by the employer. Baggett Transportation Co. v. Barnes, 109 Ga. App. 98, 100 (135 SE2d 343).
The award of the board, including the assessment of attorney's fees against the employer under Code 1 14-712, was authorized.
2. Claimant's motion to assess additional attorney's fees is levied. This court has no authority to assess attorney 's fees under Code 114-712. Dunn v. American Mut. Liab. Ins. Co., 64 Ga. App. 509, 514 (13 SE2d 902).
Judgment affirmed. Frankum and Hall, JJ., concur.
William V. George, contra.
Mitchell, Clarke, Pate & Anderson, William M. Pate, for plaintiff in error.
Friday May 22 19:54 EDT

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