FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
McKinnon Law Firm, by: David L. Schneider, for appellant.
WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge
a one-brief appeal from the Arkansas Workers'
Compensation Commission's (Commission) October 14, 2016
opinion reversing the February 10, 2016 opinion of the
administrative law judge (ALJ) by finding that appellant
failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he
sustained a compensable injury. Appellant's sole argument
on appeal is that the Commission erred in finding that
appellant failed to prove he sustained a compensable injury
while acting in the course and scope of his employment. We
March 11, 2014, having worked for appellee for eight years,
appellant was working pouring concrete in a hole when he
slipped on a piece of rebar that was being used as a ladder.
He fell and his feet became twisted in the rebar, but he was
in a harness and that kept him from hitting the ground. He
has no memory of how he got out of the hole. His coworkers
raised him to the ground in a "man basket." He
initially refused to go to the hospital, but was taken to
Baptist Health Stuttgart four hours later by Grand Prairie
Emergency Medical Services (GPEMS) after he had a seizure. He
was discharged on March 13, 2014, with no brain or head
injury diagnoses from Dr. Dennis Yelvington.
was taken to another emergency room on April 11, 2014, after
suffering another seizure; he had not been working for
appellee at the time. A CT scan showed swelling and suggested
a laceration according to Dr. Ralph Noah. Dr. Merlin Kilbury
found appellant's head to be "normocephalic"
and diagnosed him with grand mal seizures. On April 15, 2014,
appellant was diagnosed with convulsions by Dr. James Rutter
at the Internal Medicine Clinic. On May 1, 2014, Dr. Rutter
stated that appellant no longer had seizures and permitted
him to return to work with restrictions on May 2, 2014.
Appellant continued treatment for seizures with Dr. Ornette
Gaines at the Community Clinic.
hearing on appellant's claim was held on November 13,
2015, during which appellant and two coworkers were the sole
witnesses. The issues before the ALJ were
compensability; reasonable and necessary benefits;
appellant's entitlement to temporary-total-disability
benefits from March 11, 2014, to a date yet to be determined;
and controverted attorney's fees. In his February 10,
2016 opinion, the ALJ found that
2. The employment relationship existed on March 11, 2014,
during which time the claimant earned an average weekly wage
of $660.00, generating weekly compensation benefit rates of
$440.00/$330.00, for temporary total/permanent partial
3. On March 11, 2014, the claimant sustained an injury
arising out of and in the course of his employment when he
suffered an accidental fall and suffered a blow to the head.
4. The claimant was temporarily totally disabled as a result
of the March 11, 2014, compensable injury for the period
commencing March 12, 2014, through March 18, 2014, and April
11, 2014, continuing though the end of his healing period, a
date to be determined.
5. The respondents shall pay all reasonable hospital and
medical expenses arising out of the injury of March 11, 2014.
filed their notice of appeal to the full Commission on
February 24, 2016. The Commission filed its order on October
14, 2016, finding that appellant did not establish a
compensable injury by medical evidence supported by objective
findings. This timely appeal followed.
Standard of Review
reviewing decisions from the Commission, we view the evidence
and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to
the Commission's decision and affirm if it is supported
by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is that which a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. The issue is not whether we might have
reached a different result or whether the evidence would have
supported a contrary finding; if reasonable minds could reach
the Commission's conclusion, we must affirm its
decision. We defer to the Commission's findings
of credibility and the resolution of conflicting
compensable injury is an accidental injury causing internal
or external harm that arises out of and in the course of
employment. A compensable injury must be established
by medical evidence supported by objective findings, which
are findings that cannot come under the voluntary control of
the patient. A claimant bears the burden of proving a
compensable injury by a preponderance of the credible
sole argument on appeal is the Commission erred in its
findings that appellant failed to prove he sustained a
compensable injury while acting in the course and scope of
his employment. He makes several sub-arguments in support
thereof, which this court addresses as follows.
mainly argues that his "credible" testimony
supports a finding that he was injured while performing
employment activities, specifically that he hit his head
during the fall which thereby caused the seizures. Matters of
credibility are exclusively within the Commission's
domain and the testimony of an interested party is always
considered to be controverted.
I fell when we were pouring concrete and one of the iron
strings slid to one side and I fell back. After that I