Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Patricia L. Sutton v. Potomac Edison of Pennsylvania, No. A-69496.
Daniel W. Long, with him Wingerd and Long, for appellants.
Lawrence C. Zeger, with him Zeger & Zeger, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 194]
Claimant was a meter reader for appellant-employer on October 9, 1973, when she claims to have suffered severe pain in the side of her neck while stepping out of her truck during the course of her employment. The claimant filed her claim petition on May 22, 1974 and after two hearings, on December 5, 1974, the referee filed his decision awarding compensation to the claimant. The decision included a finding that on October 9, 1973, the claimant suffered a job related neck injury and since October 10, 1973, has been totally disabled as a result of the injury. Appellants now seek review by this Court of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board's (Board) opinion affirming the referee's decision.
Appellants first contend that the findings and conclusions of the referee, affirmed by the Board, that the claimant suffered an injury arising in the course of her employment and related thereto, are not supported by substantial evidence and are not in accordance with law. Appellants assert that claimant's injuries arise totally from an accident at a June 17, 1973 volleyball game, not within the scope of claimant's employment.
While it is not contested that claimant suffered a previous injury about four months prior to the injury now claimed, the record also shows claimant was able to return to work thereafter and perform her job. Following the October 9, 1973 injury, claimant has been totally unable to work. Medical evidence presented to the referee on whether the June or October injuries were the source of claimant's disability was contradictory.
Disputed questions of fact are for the referee to decide and we are bound to affirm his determination if supported by competent evidence. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Jeddo Highland Coal Company, 19 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 90,
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 195338]
, A.2d 744 (1975); Universal Cyclops Steel Company v. Krawcznyski, 9 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 176, 305 A.2d 759 (1973).
Having found that the claimant's disability arose from the October job-related accident, the referee and the Board are correct in disregarding any contributory impact of existing medical conditions. Section 301(c)(1) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 411(1), provides, in pertinent part:
"The terms 'injury' and 'personal injury,' as used in this act, shall be construed to mean an injury to an employe, regardless of his previous physical condition, arising in the ...