Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Alan Dunlap v. United Parcel Service, No. A-67554.
Raymond F. Keisling, with him Will & Keisling, for appellant.
James S. Ehrman, with him Clem R. Kyle and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Kramer, Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
Alan Dunlap (claimant) was employed by United Parcel Service (employer), to sort parcels on a conveyor belt and load them onto trucks. The claimant allegedly injured his back while at work on July 21, 1971 when, at the instruction of his supervisor, he attempted to remove two heavy tires from one of the employer's trucks. He testified that his job normally entailed only handling parcels weighing up to 50 pounds and that he had never before lifted items such as these tires which were much heavier than 50 pounds. The claimant reported the injury, a probable sprain, to his supervisor. He received medical treatment for his pain and missed about two days of work. Subsequently, on December 24, 1971, while again at work handling packages, he developed more severe pain in his back, with radiation into his left lower extremities. His physician diagnosed lumbar root compression, due to a ruptured disc.
When the claimant's employment was subsequently terminated, he filed a claim petition alleging that his back condition had prevented him from working. He had a hearing before a referee who awarded benefits under the Workmen's Compensation Act and, in doing so, found as a fact that:
"Third: On the above date (July 21), while in the course of his employment with defendant, claimant suffered an accidental injury which totally disabled him from January 4, 1972 to April 14, 1973."
The employer appealed to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which, without taking further testimony, reversed the referee and entered an order dismissing the claim petition. The claimant has now appealed to this Court.
Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether or not constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed or a necessary finding of fact was unsupported by substantial evidence. Where the Board has taken no additional evidence the facts as found by the referee which are supported by sufficient and competent evidence are binding upon the Board and upon us. Universal Cyclops Steel Corporation v. Krawczynski, 9 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 176, 305 A.2d 757 (1973). In reversing the referee the Board reasoned that the medical testimony presented by the claimant did not adequately establish a causal connection between the July 21 incident and the disabling injury.
The rule of law is such that where there is no obvious causal relationship between the employe's injury and the alleged accident, the medical witness must testify, not that the injury or condition might have, or even possibly did, come from the assigned cause, but that in his professional opinion the result in question did come from the assigned ...