Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of John A. Lydon v. G. T. E. Sylvania, No. A-80167.
Joseph P. Lenahan, Lenahan & Dempsey, for petitioner.
Michael J. Dowd, Dowd and Kocsis, for respondent, John A. Lydon.
Judges Blatt, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 619]
G. T. E. Sylvania (Employer) appeals here from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed the decision of a referee and held that John A. Lydon*fn1 (Claimant) was totally disabled as a result of a work related back injury and therefore eligible for disability benefits. We affirm.
The case involves the occurrence of a nonwork injury between the date of Claimant's work-related injury and the onset of Claimant's disability. To be eligible for workmen's compensation benefits*fn2 a claimant must prove that his injury arose in the course of his employment and was related thereto. Halaski v. Hilton Hotel, 487 Pa. 313, 409 A.2d 367 (1979). Injuries unrelated to a claimant's job are compensable, however, if they are the proximate or the natural and probable result of a prior work-related injury. Smith v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 63 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 340, 437 A.2d 1301 (1981); Friel v. Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., 174 Pa. Superior Ct. 320, 101 A.2d 171 (1953). In Smith, 63 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. at 344, 345, 437 A.2d at 1303, quoting from Gower v. Mackes, 184 Pa. Superior Ct. 41, 45, 132 A.2d 880, 882 (1957) this Court stated:
Where an employer is liable for an injury which impairs the physical condition of the claimant's body he is also liable for compensation of injury received in a subsequent accident
[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 620]
which would not have occurred if the claimant's bodily efficiency had not been impaired in the first [work-related] accident.
Where there is an intervening nonwork injury, claimant must then prove that his resultant disability was so immediately and directly connected with the prior work-related injury that it would naturally and probably result therefrom; that is to say, that the first accident was the proximate predisposing cause of the resultant disability. Friel.
It is contended here by Employer that Claimant did not meet his burden and that Claimant's disability is the direct result of the intervening nonwork injury.
There is little dispute as to the relevant facts. Claimant's job required him to lift fifty pound buckets of metal powder every fifteen minutes. On July 31, 1979, while lifting one of these buckets, Claimant developed severe pain in his back which he described as "like something tearing". Claimant spent the remainder of his shift and the better part of the next ...