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MONTGOMERY MILLS COMPANY v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA AND RAYMOND T. YOUNT. MONTGOMERY MILLS COMPANY (10/04/76)

decided: October 4, 1976.

MONTGOMERY MILLS COMPANY
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA AND RAYMOND T. YOUNT. MONTGOMERY MILLS COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Raymond T. Yount v. Montgomery Mills Company, No. A-70656.

COUNSEL

John M. Humphrey, with him Candor, Youngman, Gibson & Gault, for appellant.

Graham C. Showalter, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.

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

Author: Wilkinson

[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 472]

Appellant appeals a decision by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board upholding a referee's award of total disability benefits to claimant. We affirm.

Claimant alleged in his claim petition for compensation that on November 27, 1973, he slipped and fell on an icy driveway while on the premises and in the employ of the appellant. Claimant further alleged that as a result of the accident he injured his back and became disabled thereby on February 8, 1974. Appellant denied all allegations except that regarding claimant's employment status. Appellant further stated that it was without knowledge of the circumstances relied upon by the claimant.

[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 473]

Hearings were held on March 25, 1975 and May 15, 1975. The record reveals that the testimony on several points was inconsistent and conflicting. Nevertheless, the referee's findings of fact included that the accident did occur on November 27, 1973, as alleged by the claimant; that as a result thereof the claimant was totally disabled from February 8, 1974, to the indefinite future; and that notice of the accident had been given the appellant on the date of the injury. The referee, therefore, awarded total disability compensation beginning February 8, 1974, and indefinitely thereafter.

In affirming the referee's award, the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board did not consider additional evidence. Therefore, we may consider only whether an error of law had been committed below and whether substantial evidence exists to support the essential findings of fact. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Auto Express, Inc., 21 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 559, 561, 346 A.2d 829, 831 (1975). "Substantial evidence" is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Id.

Appellant's first argument is that the finding below that the claimant is permanently disabled as the result of an accidental injury is not based upon sufficient competent evidence. Within this argument appellant claims that unequivocal medical testimony is lacking in the record to establish a causal connection between the accident and the disability and that such unequivocal testimony is required in this case. We do not agree.

The long-established rule is that unequivocal medical testimony is required to establish a causal connection between an accident and a disability only where the connection is not obvious. E.g., Workmen's Compensation ...


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