FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Law Firm, P.A., by: Conrad T. Odom and C. Thomas Odom, Jr.,
Bassett Law Firm LLP, by: Chris L. Nebben, for appellees.
Collier appeals the Arkansas Workers' Compensation
Commission's (Commission) determination that he did not
suffer a compensable injury. On appeal, he argues that
substantial evidence supports a finding of a compensable
injury. We affirm.
April 22, 2016, Eric Collier was forty-nine years old when,
while working for the appellee, Walmart, he allegedly slipped
and fell on a sheet of ice on a freezer floor, hurting his
lower back. Collier did not report the fall and went about
his work. He testified he was not in discomfort at the time.
About a week later, Collier testified that his neck and lower
back started to bother him. About a month after the fall,
Collier sought treatment from a chiropractor. The
chiropractor's notes provide that Collier said he began
experiencing pain three days before the appointment. Those
notes further provide that Collier said he did not know why
his back and neck were hurting. He did not mention slipping
and falling at work.
weeks after the fall, Collier reported it to a supervisor. He
filled out the incident report on June 1, 2016. Two days
later, the company sent Collier to be evaluated by John
Nicholas, a physician assistant at the Arkansas Occupational
Health Clinic. Collier told Nicholas that his pain began a
week after his fall. Nicholas took x-rays and gave Collier
some work restrictions. Nicholas also recommended six
physical-therapy sessions. Collier did not attend physical
therapy because his workers'-compensation claim had been
17, 2016, Collier's supervisor advised him that because
the workers'-compensation claim had been denied, Collier
would have to provide Walmart a full medical release to
return to work. Collier was not provided light-duty work
after the claim was denied. Collier did not return to work
for Walmart thereafter, though he did continue to work
another job setting up and running photo booths.
had an MRI on June 29, 2016. The MRI revealed mild
degenerative-disc disease of the lumbar spine with
multilevel-facet degeneration. The MRI further showed
"mild right neural foraminal narrowing at L4-5 but no
objective findings of trauma."
parties presented their case on December 8, 2016. The
administrative law judge (ALJ) found that Collier proved he
sustained compensable injuries to his neck and back and
awarded him medical treatment and temporary total-disability
benefits. Walmart then appealed to the Commission.
Commission reversed the ALJ's finding that Collier proved
he sustained compensable injuries to his neck and back. It
noted that Collier did not report his injury for several
weeks and did not tell his doctors about the source of the
pain. The Commission specifically found that Collier was not
a credible witness, and that he did not prove his injury.
the Commission denies benefits because a claimant has failed
to meet his burden of proof, the substantial-evidence
standard of review requires that we affirm if the
Commission's decision displays a substantial basis for
the denial of relief. White v. Butterball,
LLC, 2018 Ark.App. 7, at 4-5, __S.W.3d__, __. On
appeal, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the Commission's decision and affirm the decision if it
is supported by substantial evidence, which is evidence that
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Id. The issue on review is not whether
the evidence would have supported a contrary finding or
whether we might have reached a different result; we affirm
if reasonable minds could reach the Commission's
conclusion. Id. We defer to the Commission on issues
involving credibility and the weight of the evidence.
Frost v. City of Rogers, 2016 Ark.App. 273, at 4,
492 S.W.3d 875, 878.
prove a compensable injury, the claimant must establish by a
preponderance of the evidence (1) an injury arising out of
and in the course of employment; (2) that the injury caused
internal or external harm to the body that required medical
services or resulted in disability or death; (3) medical
evidence supported by objective findings, as defined in
Arkansas Code Annotated section 11-9-102(16) (Repl. 2012),
establishing the injury; and (4) that the injury was caused
by a specific incident identifiable by time and place of
occurrence. Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-102(4)(A)(i).
citing Patterson v. Frito Lay, Inc., 66 Ark.App.
159, 169, 992 S.W.2d 130, 136 (1999), argues that the
Commission arbitrarily labeled him as not a credible witness
without stating the reason for its credibility determination
in light of the ALJ finding him credible. Here, however, the
Commission stated it found Collier not credible because of
the lack of corroborating evidence to support his injury and
his conflicting statements to medical providers. Collier also
argues that he should not be penalized for not reporting the
accident immediately because Arkansas Code Annotated section
11-9-701(b) provides that failure to give notice will not bar
a claim if the Commission finds the reasons for lack of
notice satisfactory. This is a correct recitation of the law;
however, it is ...