State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
Home News RSS News QUICK Find Index Search E-Mail
General Information Glossary Law CRB Opinions Workers' Compensation Commission Downloadable Forms and Publications Links

Snyder v. Americo-U-Haul of Connecticut

CASE NO. 1219 CRD-5-91-4

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD/DIVISION

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JANUARY 7, 1993

EARL SNYDER

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

AMERICO-U-HAUL OF CONNECTICUT

EMPLOYER

and

AETNA CASUALTY AND SURETY

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by John Ambrozaitis, Jr. Esq., Fitzmaurice and Ambrozaitis, 59 Central Avenue, Waterbury, CT 06702.

The respondents were represented by Jason M. Dodge, Esq. and Margaret Corrigan, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton and Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, CT 06033-4412.

This Petition for Review from the April 11, 1991 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner for the Fifth District was heard March 27, 1992 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the then Commission Chairman, John Arcudi and Commissioners Michael S. Sherman and A. Thomas White, Jr.

OPINION

JOHN ARCUDI, COMMISSIONER. Claimant suffered a compensable back injury while in the employ of Americo-U-Haul on August 4, 1986. After his treating physician, Dr. David Pugliese D.C., released him to return to work, he did so in September, 1986. His claim that he had a recurrence of the disabling back injury December 2, 1986 was denied by the Fifth District. In his April 11, 1991 ruling the commissioner made no determination concerning a permanent partial loss of the back under Sec. 31-308(b).

Claimant’s appeal argues the commissioner should have found him totally disabled from December 2, 1986 to October 7, 1987 due to a recurrence of the August injury. He also claims the commissioner should have awarded him Sec. 31-308(b) benefits for permanent partial disability of the back.

The issues presented for review are factual determinations. See. e.g., Glynn v . Terry Corp., 8 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 87, 806 CRD-2-89-1 (1990); Janoy v. General Electric Co., 4 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 44, 491-CRD-4-86 (1987) whether an injury is a recurrence or relapse of a prior injury; Polier v. Colt Industries, 8 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 7, 763 CRD-1-88-8 (1989), whether claimant’s medical treatment was related to his previous compensable injury.

We cannot disturb conclusions based on such factual determinations unless they are based on unreasonable or impermissible factual inferences, reached without evidence or contrary to law. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535 (1988). Nor can we overturn conclusions where they are based on the weight and credibility to be accorded the evidence presented below. Rivera v. Guida’s Dairy, 167 Conn. 524 (1975).

Here claimant alleges he was totally disabled beginning December 2, 1986, but he did not seek any treatment with his treater until March, 1987. Dr. William Druckemiller, M.D., a board certified neurosurgeon, was unable to determine that claimant was totally disabled during the periods asserted. Also there was no x-ray evidence to substantiate the claim of total disability for the weeks in question. Thus, Dr. Pugliese’s physical findings, diagnosis and treatment were primarily based on his impressions of the claimant after a physical examination and subsequent treatment.

A trier is free to accept or reject any testimony presented before him. Hills v. Servicemaster of Connecticut River Valley, Inc., 155 Conn. 214 (1967). See also, State v. Dudla, 190 Conn. 1 (1983). His conclusions here were clearly based on the weight and credibility he placed on that evidence. There is no reason for us to conclude otherwise or to substitute our conclusions for his.

However there was some evidence before the commissioner that claimant had suffered some permanent partial disability of the back which might make him arguably eligible for Sec. 31-308(b) benefits. The commissioner did not address that evidence both from the treater and from Dr. Druckemiller. The matter needs to be remanded for consideration of that evidence.

We therefore sustain the appeal in part and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Commissioners Michael S. Sherman and A. Thomas White, Jr. concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: April 23, 2018

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1993/1219crb.htm

Workers’ Compensation Commission Disclaimer, Privacy Policy and Website Accessibility

State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
Home News RSS News QUICK Find Index Search E-Mail
General Information Glossary Law CRB Opinions Workers' Compensation Commission Downloadable Forms and Publications Links