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BOYLE v. BOYLE ET AL.APPEAL COAL OPERATORS CAS. CO. (11/16/53)

November 16, 1953

BOYLE
v.
BOYLE ET AL.APPEAL OF COAL OPERATORS CAS. CO.



COUNSEL

J. Webster Jones, Philadelphia, for appellant.

John Patrick Walsh, Leon Rosenfield, Philadelphia, for appellees.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Ross, Gunther and Wright, JJ.

Author: Rhodes

[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 188]

RHODES, President Judge.

The claimant in this workmen's compensation case sustained an accidental injury in the course of his employment on November 3, 1950. An open agreement

[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 189]

    was entered into which provided for compensation for total disability. The agreement described the accident and claimant's injuries as follows: 'While working on scaffold, board titled and claimant fell, catching onto rope which swung him into building, causing contusion of chest.' Compensation was paid under the agreement.

On March 28, 1951, defendant employer and its insurance carrier filed a petition to terminate in which it was alleged that all disability resulting from the accident and covered in the agreement had ceased on January 26, 1951. Claimant answered that he was still totally disabled as a result of injury to his heart suffered in the accident on November 3, 1950. After hearing, referee denied the petition and ordered defendants to pay to claimant compensation for total disability at the rate of $25 per week, beginning January 27, 1951, and continuing for an indefinite period. The Workmen's Compensation Board affirmed the referee's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the order. Defendant's insurance carrier appealed to the court of common pleas which affirmed the Board and dismissed the appeal. The insurance carrier has appealed to this Court, and its contentions are to the effect that there was no legally competent expert testimony to sustain the award of compensation.

The burden of proving that claimant's disability from the accident had terminated was on the defendants. Leaver v. Midvale Company, 162 Pa. Super. 393, 397, 57 A.2d 698; Barckhoff v. Westmoreland Coal Co., 161 Pa. Super. 146, 148, 53 A.2d 872; Snyder v. Hoffman, 159 Pa. Super. 392, 394, 48 A.2d 78. Before the referee the defendants presented the testimony of their medical expert, and rested. It is not necessary for us to determine whether the testimony of this witness was sufficient to meet the burden

[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 190]

    of proof which devolved upon defendants. See Gill v. Fives, 170 Pa. Super. 564, 568, 88 A.2d 109. The Board reviewed the entire record and found that the medical testimony showed a causal connection between the accidental injury and claimant's present disability. Such disagreement as may have existed in the testimony of the medical experts was resolved by the Board in favor of the claimant. And, as we have frequently said, where the medical testimony as to causal connection between an accident and the death or the disability is conflicting, the issue is one of fact for the compensation authorities, and the credibility of those qualifying as experts is not reviewable as a matter of law; credibility of the witnesses is always for the finders of fact. Malick v. City of Uniontown, 172 Pa. Super. 562, 565, 94 A.2d 151.

There is no question about the present disability of the claimant. It is conceded that he is suffering from a myocardial infarction. He has been totally disabled since the accident. The medical expert called on behalf of the defendants testified that he had examined claimant on February 15, 1951, and that he had an anterior infarction of the heart which was totally disabling. After reciting the relevant history, this expert testified that he did not feel that the accident caused claimant's heart condition, and that the contusions were not disabling. This witness did testify, however, that the coronary occlusion which caused the ...


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