Appeals from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of August Bertsch, Jr. and Dorothy Bertsch, Parents of Theodore H. Bertsch, deceased v. Pike County Sand & Gravel Co. and The Weidner Companies, and United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, Insurance Carrier, Fatal Claim Petition No. SS 202 36 0215.
John H. Appleton, for appellants.
Raymond P. Kashimba, with him Krawitz, Sigal & Ridley, P.A., for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.
On April 24, 1970, Theodore H. Bertsch (deceased), age 22, was electrocuted while in the course of his employment with Pike County Sand & Gravel Co. (employer). On March 1, 1971, August Bertsch, Jr. and Dorothy Bertsch (claimants) filed a fatal claim petition alleging that they were partially dependent parents of the decedent within the meaning of Section 307(5) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 (Act). The referee found that while August
Bertsch, Jr. was not partially dependent upon the decedent, Dorothy Bertsch was, and he awarded her $25.00 per week plus certain funeral expenses.*fn2
The employer appealed to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), which affirmed the referee's award and dismissed the appeal. The employer then appealed to the Pike County Court of Common Pleas,*fn3 which upheld the referee's decision and the Board's affirmance thereof. The employer now brings this appeal.
In a workmen's compensation case, where the party with the burden of proof prevailed before the referee and the Board took no additional evidence, our review is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or a necessary finding of fact of the referee was unsupported by substantial evidence, leaving questions of evidentiary weight to the referee. Mikalonis v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 25 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 166, 172-3, 361 A.2d 483, 487 (1976); Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Power Systems Division, McGraw Edison, 20 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 548, 342 A.2d 445 (1975). Claimants had the burden of affirmatively proving dependency here as they were parents claiming benefits for the death of an adult child. Leipziger v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 417, 315 A.2d 883 (1974); Davis v. Welsbach Corp., 201 Pa. Superior Ct. 520, 193 A.2d 621 (1963).
The employer argues that the claimant, Dorothy Bertsch, did not carry her burden of proof and that the referee's conclusion that she was partially dependent was not supported by competent evidence inasmuch
as there was no specific testimony as to the cost of her maintenance and support as distinguished from the expenses of the entire household. To evaluate this argument, we must review some of the basic facts of the family's financial situation which were found by the referee and ...