FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NOS.
G300892 & G406782]
Hatfield Law Firm, by: Jason M. Hatfield; and Cullen &
Co., PLLC, by: Tim J. Cullen, for appellant.
Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP, by: John D. Davis, for
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Halliday appeals the Workers' Compensation
Commission's ("the Commission") decision
finding that she failed to establish that she had sustained a
compensable back injury while working for North Arkansas
Regional Medical Center ("NARMC"). On appeal,
Halliday argues that the Commission's finding is not
supported by substantial evidence. We affirm.
worked as a paramedic for NARMC. Her duties included
responding to emergency calls, lifting patients, and
transporting patients to the medical center. In February
2014, Halliday filed a compensation claim for a back injury
she had sustained from a fall on January 25, 2013. In August
2014, she filed a second compensation claim. She claimed that
in addition to her accident on January 25, 2013, she had also
injured her back on December 26, 2012, while lifting a
patient. She asked for medical expenses associated with the
injury, which included a recommended back surgery. NARMC
denied that Halliday had sustained a compensable injury on
December 26, 2012, or on January 25, 2013, and refused to pay
for the back surgery. The case proceeded to a hearing before
an administrative law judge ("ALJ").
hearing, Halliday testified that she is twenty-four years old
and that she had worked at NARMC since she was eighteen years
old. She explained that on December 26, 2012, she injured her
lower back while lifting a patient onto a stretcher in the
emergency room ("ER") at NARMC. She noted that her
partner, Kristi Ramsey, was helping her lift the patient. She
stated that as result of the accident, she experienced severe
lower back pain that radiated to her knee. She admitted
knowing the procedure for reporting a work-related injury but
stated that she did not immediately report it because she
believed that she had only pulled a muscle, she did not want
to "make a big deal out of it, " and she wanted to
be "a team player." She stated that she later
reported the accident to her supervisor, Scott Trammell, but
he told her that the twenty-four-hour period to report the
injury had passed.
testified that after the accident, she went to see her
chiropractor, Dr. Butler, and that he tried to adjust the
muscle without success. She admitted that she had previously
seen Dr. Butler in the past for neck and back pains. She also
admitted that in a prior deposition, she had falsely stated
that before December 26, 2012, she had seen Dr. Butler only
for migraines. She explained that she misspoke because she
had not recently reviewed her medical records.
stated that after Dr. Butler's adjustment did not
alleviate her lower back pain, she went to the ER where a
physician's assistant gave her a steroid shot and
prescribed her Flexeril. She stated that she also saw her family
doctor, Dr. Rolland Bailey, about her back and that he
prescribed pain medication and ordered an MRI for January 18,
2013. She explained that the MRI showed a herniated disk. She
noted that she paid for the MRI but knew that, if she had a
work-related injury, her employer would normally pay for the
medical treatment. She stated that as result of the MRI, Dr.
Bailey recommended that she see a neurosurgeon.
testified that before she saw the neurosurgeon recommended by
Dr. Bailey, she had a second accident at work on January 25,
2013, that exacerbated her December 2012 lower back injury.
She stated that the accident occurred when she slipped and
fell on a piece of timber outside a patient's home and
that she was with Ramsey at the time. Halliday testified that
she reported the injury to the dispatcher at work, and the
dispatcher relayed the report to Trammell. She noted that
Trammell advised her to go to the ER, which she did. Halliday
had an MRI the following day, and it showed a herniated disk,
but it showed no change compared to the January 18, 2013 MRI.
Halliday noted that she later saw a neurosurgeon and that he
recommended back surgery.
testified that he works as the operations manager for
emergency medical services at NARMC and that Halliday had
worked under his direction since her hire date in June 2009.
Trammel recalled Halliday's accident where she had
slipped and fallen and hurt her back. However, Trammel had no
memory of any other injury or accident prior to that date. He
noted that if an employee fails to report a work-related
injury within twenty- four hours, he believed they had waited
too long to report the injury; however, he stated he would
normally direct her to an occupational nurse, who would have
testified that she worked as Halliday's partner at NARMC.
She recalled working with Halliday on January 25, 2013, when
they responded to an emergency call at a residence. She
testified that she did not see Halliday slip or fall during
the call. She explained that after they returned to the
hospital, she received a call from the dispatcher that she
needed to take Halliday to the ER. She testified that she
transported Halliday to the ER and that Halliday told her
that she had injured her back. They did not discuss the
details of the accident or Halliday's pain. Ramsey had no
knowledge of Halliday's December 26, 2012 injury.
Sides testified that she is the occupational health officer
at NARMC and sees NARMC employees who have work-related
injuries. She stated that on January 25, 2013, Halliday
reported a work injury but she did not mention an accident
from December 2012. She explained that she was preparing
documents for Halliday's claim when she found a record of
Halliday's January 18, 2013 MRI. She stated that she
called Halliday about the MRI and that Halliday informed her
that she had pulled a muscle in the ER in December 2012 but
that she was seeing her primary care physician.
the hearing, the ALJ entered an order finding that Halliday
had failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence
that she had sustained a compensable injury on December 26,
2012, or on January 25, 2013. Halliday appealed the ALJ's
decision to the Commission. The Commission affirmed and
adopted the ALJ's opinion. Halliday then appealed the
Commission's decision to this court. On appeal, Halliday
argues that the Commission's finding that she failed to
establish that she had sustained a compensable injury on
December 26, 2012, or on January 25, 2013, is not supported
by substantial evidence.
appeal is taken from the denial of a claim for benefits by
the Commission, the substantial-evidence standard of review
requires that we affirm if the Commission's opinion
contains a substantial basis for the denial of relief.
Powers v. City of Fayetteville, 97 Ark.App. 251, 248
S.W.3d 516 (2007). We view the evidence and all reasonable
inferences deducible therefrom in the light most favorable to
the Commission's findings. Id. Substantial
evidence is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
Id. The question is not whether the evidence would
have supported findings contrary to the ones made by the
Commission; there may be substantial evidence to support the
Commission's decision even though we might have reached a