Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Elizabeth Woods v. Bond Transport, Inc., No. A-68934.
Raymond F. Keisling, with him Will & Keisling, for appellants.
Doris A. Smith, with her Brown & Cotton, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.
This case is an appeal by Bond Transport, Inc., and its insurance carrier (appellants) from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision granting compensation pursuant to a fatal claim petition. We affirm.
In the early morning hours of October 30, 1972, Hewlett Woods (Woods) was operating a tractor-trailer, which he owned, eastbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Because of a rapidly deflating right front tire, he attempted to maneuver the rig to the berm of the road. However, being preoccupied with trying to control the vehicle, Woods failed to apply the truck's brakes. Consequently, the tractor-trailer struck a number of guard rails and plunged down an embankment, fatally injuring Woods. At the time of the mishap, Woods was hauling steel coils for Bond Transport, Inc., under an equipment lease agreement, dated February 14, 1972, whereby Woods leased his tractor-trailer to Bond and was the driver thereof.
Elizabeth Woods, spouse and sole dependent of Woods, filed a fatal claim petition against Bond on April 30, 1973. Hearings were held before a referee who then awarded compensation finding as fact and concluding as a matter of law that the relationship between Bond Transport, Inc., and Woods was one of employer-employee. Other findings of fact made by the referee included:
"NINTH: The Lease Agreement between Bond Transport, Inc. and Hewlett Woods, dated February 14, 1972, inter alia, provided that:
'For the duration of this lease, OWNER leases Equipment unto CARRIER for CARRIER'S exclusive possession, control, use, and responsibility.
'. . . and unless specifically authorized in writing by an official of the Bond Transport, Inc. no driver shall transport any person or permit any person to be transported on the motor vehicle at such times as the motor vehicle is being operated under the authority and about the business of the Bond Transport, Inc., but no written authorization will be necessary for the ...