Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of William Adams v. John Curry, Inc., No. A-86215.
Susan McLaughlin, with her, Roger B. Wood and David L. Pennington, Harvey, Pennington, Herting & Renneisen, Ltd., for petitioners.
Theodore P. Winicov, with him, James J. DeMarco, DeMarco & Carrafiello, for respondent, William Adams.
Judges Craig, Doyle and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
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John Curry, Inc. appeals from a Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board order affirming a referee's decision awarding total disability compensation to William Adams. The board's order is affirmed.
According to the referee's findings of fact, the claimant filed a petition on April 7, 1978, for an injury sustained on February 10, 1978. At the time of the initial accident, the claimant was employed as a truck driver. He continued to work until March 10, 1978, when he fell on an ice embankment and reinjured himself while making a delivery for the employer. Although the claimant returned to work on September 1, 1978, working three days per week, he had to cease work on November 20, 1978 because the continued work aggravated the March injury.
The employer raises three issues;*fn1 however, in framing the factual issues, the employer has pursued an inapplicable
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standard of review. Where the board does not consider additional evidence and the party with the burden of proof has prevailed before the referee, the standard of review as to facts is whether substantial evidence exists to support the essential findings of fact. Montgomery Mills Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 26 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 471, 364 A.2d 508 (1976). Hence, the issues are: (1) whether the referee's findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence, and (2) whether the board committed an error of law in failing to review the employer's films.
The employer offered testimony before the referee that, although the claimant's injuries justified restrictions on lifting, there were jobs available to the claimant. In addition, the employer submitted films "depicting a few of claimant's activities." However, the referee found credible the claimant's testimony and the testimony of the claimant's physician indicating that the claimant was totally and permanently disabled by his injuries suffered at work. The referee, as the ultimate factfinder,*fn2 may accept or reject the testimony of any witness in whole or in part, and further, the referee's decision to accept the testimony of one competent medical witness over another will not be disturbed on appeal. Borkowski v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (John F. Kennedy Medical Center), 74 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 310, 459 A.2d 1336 (1983). Consequently,
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the record contains substantial evidence to support the referee's finding that the claimant is ...