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HERSHEY ESTATES AND PENNSYLVANIA MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION INSURANCE CO. v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND RONALD F. RHOADE (08/02/73)

decided: August 2, 1973.

HERSHEY ESTATES AND PENNSYLVANIA MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION INSURANCE CO., INSURANCE CARRIER, APPELLANTS,
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND RONALD F. RHOADE, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Ronald F. Rhoade v. Hershey Estates and Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Company, Insurance Carrier, No. A-66317.

COUNSEL

Thomas A. Ehrgood, with him Ehrgood and Ehrgood, for appellants.

Alvin B. Lewis, Jr., with him Nicholas B. Moehlmann and Lewis, Brubaker, Whitman & Christianson, for appellees.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 9 Pa. Commw. Page 471]

Ronald F. Rhoade sustained head injuries in a fall from a pole in the course of his employment as a telephone lineman. He sustained nerve and muscle injury to the left eye which caused that eye to turn in. He has double vision when looking straight, to the left or up and down. He has binocular vision only when looking to the right or by turning his head five to ten degrees to the left. The vision of his left eye is not, however, significantly impaired. The only issue in the case is whether, as Mr. Rhoade contends, he is entitled to compensation for the specific loss of the use of his left eye for which compensation should be paid under Section 306(c) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 513(7).

The referee and the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board decided in the claimant's favor and the employer has appealed to us, asserting that the finding that the appellant had lost the use of his left eye was not supported by sufficient competent evidence. The award having been in favor of the claimant, we are required to consider the testimony in the light most favorable

[ 9 Pa. Commw. Page 472]

    to him. Nelson v. Borough of Greenville, 181 Pa. Superior Ct. 488, 124 A.2d 675 (1956). It is our duty to examine the record and determine, not whether we would have made the same findings as the authorities, but whether the evidence is such that a reasonable person, acting reasonably, might reach the same conclusion on the facts as did those authorities. Sabatini v. Affiliated Food Distributors, Inc., 6 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 470, 295 A.2d 845 (1972); A. P. Weaver and Sons v. Sanitary Water Board, 3 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 499, 284 A.2d 515 (1971).

The employer adduced no evidence. The claimant's evidence consisted of the testimony of two well qualified attending physicians and his own account of his symptoms. The physicians described the claimant's condition as that of double vision except when his gaze is directed to the right. One of them testified as follows: "I have no knowledge of whether he is employed or not. However, he certainly would not be able to do any work that would require binocular vision. That is two eyes working together. Climbing or any hazardous occupation would be even more hazardous with his eye muscle condition." The claimant describes his condition in the following terms: "A. Why, to look to my right, I'm o.k. but to look to my left and stare at something, it gets blurry and if I'm tired or something, it really bothers me. Q. Can you see normally when you look straight ahead? A. No, not straight ahead. I get double vision. Q. And when you look down? A. Double vision. Q. Up? A. Double vision. Q. To your right? A. Clear. Everything is individual. Q. To your left? A. Double vision."

The claimant has been steadily employed in his occupation as an electrical lineman and has had no loss of earnings. The employer argues strenuously that these circumstances prove that the claimant has not

[ 9 Pa. Commw. Page 473]

    lost the use of his left eye within the meaning of the law. Continued employability and earnings are ...


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