Appeals from the Orders of the Workmen's Compensation Board in cases of Floyd Tate, Claimant, Deceased, by his widow, Substituted Claimant v. Counties Contracting and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Insurance Carrier, and Mary Tate, Widow of Floyd Tate, Deceased v. Counties Contracting and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Insurance Carrier, Nos. A-65005 and A-65014.
Gerald J. Haas, for appellant.
G. Roger Bowers, with him Joseph R. Thompson, for appellees.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
These are two appeals from the decisions of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming the dismissal by the referee of the claimants' petition for total disability benefits allegedly due Floyd Tate (decedent) during his lifetime and for death benefits allegedly due his wife and four dependent children.
The factual basis of the claims, which essentially involve two supposed falls and the subsequent death of decedent, is amply described in the Board's opinion:
"In the first [fall], claimant's decedent allegedly fell eight feet, head first, into an eight-foot deep manhole. A fellow-worker saw decedent outside the hole, turned away, and then when he turned back, saw decedent at the bottom of the hole and presumed from this that claimant's decedent fell. Claimant's decedent displayed
minor physical evidence of a fall with apparently no injury to his head or face. The date of the fall was not definitely fixed, but apparently it happened on September 8, 1970.
"The second alleged fall was actually assumed to have taken place on October 12, 1970. The decedent was supposed to have left his home momentarily to go outside and when he returned inside, his face was bleeding and his wife (claimant here) saw on the right side of his face 'this imprint from the grass and the yard.' This minute observation by the wife-claimant perhaps is what caused her to think the decedent fell, but when she asked decedent what happened and whether he fell, his answer was 'I don't know.'
"Decedent was taken immediately to the hospital and within a few hours was operated upon for an acute subdural hematoma.*fn1 He later became unconscious and did not improve and finally died from the effects of ...