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Roman v. Eyelets For Industry

CASE NO. 3040 CRB-5-95-4

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

FEBRUARY 14, 1997

HERMAN J. ROMAN

CLAIMANT-APPELLEE

v.

EYELETS FOR INDUSTRY

EMPLOYER

and

NORTHBROOK PROPERTY & CASUALTY

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Debra McGill-Membrino, Esq., 571 Wolcott St., Waterbury, CT 06705.

The respondents were represented by Dominick Statile, Esq., Montstream & May, 655 Winding Brook Drive, P. O. Box 1087, Glastonbury, CT 06033.

This Petition for Review from the April 11, 1995 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the Fifth District was heard August 16, 1996 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of Commissioners George A. Waldron, Robin L. Wilson and Michael S. Miles.

OPINION

GEORGE A. WALDRON, COMMISSIONER. The respondents have petitioned for review from the April 11, 1995 Finding and Award of the Commissioner acting for the Fifth District. They argue on appeal that the commissioner erred in finding the claimant’s back claim compensable. We affirm the trial commissioner’s decision.

The commissioner found that the claimant suffered a compensable injury to his left ankle on July 11, 1991. That injury was accepted by voluntary agreement, with a second voluntary agreement approved for permanent partial disability. Neither agreement referred to any injury other than the left leg and ankle. The claimant later made a claim for a back injury he suffered as a result of the same incident, which involved his falling into a ditch while carrying a heavy object. He began treating with Dr. Sterling, an orthopedist, on October 21, 1991. Dr. Sterling performed surgery on his left ankle, and assessed the claimant with a ten percent permanent partial disability of the ankle on October 1, 1992. He also noted that the claimant had no preexisting back condition.

The commissioner observed that Dr. Sterling’s reports through May 28, 1992 made a passing reference to left groin and presacral pain, but spoke of no injury other than the left ankle. His February 2, 1993 report did note the claimant’s complaint of constant low back pain radiating to the left groin area, low abdomen, and buttock, which the claimant said dated back to the July 1991 incident, and was growing worse. X-rays and an MRI revealed degenerative spinal disease and three herniations. The doctor opined that the claimant’s L4-L5 herniation was due to the 1991 injury. Another orthopedist, Dr. Shafer, thought that the claimant’s back problems were caused by his degenerative disc disease, not his fall at work. He stated that the disc disease preexisted the 1991 accident. The commissioner found that the back injury was caused by the July 11, 1991 injury, and was thus compensable. The respondents appealed that decision.

The respondents argue that the commissioner should have found that the claimant’s back claim was barred by the notice provisions of § 31-294c C.G.S. There is no question that the claimant filed a Form 30C notice of claim on November 19, 1991, well within one year from the date of the injury as required by the statute. However, he only mentioned injuries to his left leg and ankle in the Form 30C. In fact, despite visits to Drs. Sterling and Shafer, the first documented mention of back pain by the claimant was in Dr. Sterling’s February 2, 1993 report, almost 19 months after the original injury. According to the respondents, the back claim should thus be held time-barred.

This board decided in Landrette v. City of Bristol, 11 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 149, 1279 CRD-6-91-8 (Aug. 19, 1993), that a claimant who gave timely written notice of an ankle injury was not precluded from seeking benefits for a mouth injury that arose from the same incident. Even though the claimant had not notified the respondents of his dental injury until over a year had passed after the work-related incident, we held that “once the trial commissioner determined that the mouth injury was causally related to a work injury the need for any further notice of claim was unnecessary.” Id., 151, citing Hebert v. New Departure Hyatt Bearings, 4 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 94, 300 CRD-6-84 (1987), no error, 14 Conn. App. 819 (1988). The same analysis applies here. Notice for the July 1991 injury was timely, and compensability was acknowledged by the respondents. As the claimant’s back injury was found to be related to the same incident, the filing of another notice of claim was unnecessary.

The trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed. Interest is granted pursuant to § 31-301c(b) on any amount awarded to the claimant that may remain unpaid.

Commissioners Robin L. Wilson and Michael S. Miles concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: June 13, 2005

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1997/3040crb.htm

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State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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