« ForrigeFortsett »
made by the industrial accident board for benefits as for complete dependency, on the ground that the evidence showed that there was an actual dependency, her earnings being insufficient for her support. An unusual aspect of the question of a surviving wife's rights was involved in a case (Crockett v. International Ry. Co., p. 221) in which the Supreme Court of New York held that a widow who had married the deceased subsequent to the date of his injury was a beneficiary within the terms of the law, since the question of dependency is immaterial as regards wife or children, and construing the sentence of the law, "All questions of dependency shall be determined as of the time of the accident," as not applying to persons in those relationships. A similar situation was passed upon by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, which held (Kuetbach v. Industrial Commission, p. 220) that the widow had no rights at the time of the injury, and could acquire none by her subsequent marriage.
The status of a sister who had made a home for her brother, receiv ing weekly contributions from him for expenses, was held by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts not to be that of a dependent, the deceased man being declared not to be the head of a family of which the sister was a member (In re Murphy, p. 222).
A father partially dependent, receiving all the earnings of his minor son, was declared by the Appellate Court of Indiana (In re Peters, p. 219) to be entitled to the maximum award, even though he was only a partial dependent, since he had been in receipt of the full earnings of his son. Partial dependency was also found by the Supreme Court of Kansas where a minor son had turned over to his mother the major part of his earnings, even though the father owned property of some value and received wages of $125 per month, the court declining to consider the private affairs and economies of the family (Fennimore v. Pittsburg-Scammon Coal Co., p. 219). Whether regularity of contributions was essential to sustain a finding of dependency was decided in the negative by the Supreme Court of Illinois, the court finding that the statute did not require dependence in the case of surviving parents or lineal heirs (Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Industrial Board, p. 221).
The Appellate Court of Indiana had before it a case involving multiple injuries-one, the amputation of an arm, calling for an award for permanent partial disability, while other injuries occasioned temporary total disability. The State board inquired whether separate awards should be made for the two injuries, to which the court replied in the affirmative, stating that the provision that awards for permanent partial disabilities should be in lieu of all other compensation meant only other compensation for such injuries them
selves, and not for other injuries that might be received at the same time (In re Denton, p. 289). A different view was taken of such a situation by the Court of Appeals of New York (Marhoffer v. Marhoffer, p. 289). The State industrial accident commission had made an award for a period of total disability where there was a laceration of the thumb and index finger and an amputation of the second finger, and an additional award for the schedule period for the loss of the second finger. Current and consecutive awards based on separate items of physical impairment, disconnected from earning power, were held not to comport with the spirit and purpose of the act.
An award for total disability where the injury consisted of the amputation of one finger of the right hand and a stiffening of two other fingers was held by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts not to be warranted in a case (In re Lacione, p. 290) in which no employment had in fact been obtained since the accident. The evidence was held, however, not to show either a total inability to do work or to secure work to do, so that the award could not stand.
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin had before it a case involving an attempt of the employer and insurer to overthrow an award for permanent total disability where there was a paralysis, though not total, of the lower limbs and the lower part of the back, disqualifying entirely for work as a carpenter or laborer, these being the lines of former employment of the injured man. The fact that a lump sum was requested in order that the man and his wife might engage in some small business was held not to warrant a review of the question of total disability, since the award was based on his wage-earning capacity, and not on what might follow if he should attempt to supervise or direct a business undertaking (McDonald v. Industrial Commission, p. 275). A quite similar case was before the Supreme Court of Kansas (Moore v. Peet Bros. Mfg. Co., p. 291), where a man awarded benefits for permanent total disability was found to be making an income of some $12 or $15 a week from the conduct of a cleaning, pressing, and tailoring business in the basement of his home. The court held that the profits of business did not constitute earnings under the law, and such an undertaking was in no wise incompatible with total incapacity for work.
Another case that was before the same court was that of a man who suffered total and partial disability for a period in excess of two years, for which period compensation benefits were allowed. Before the expiration of the time he found other employment at wages in excess of his earnings at the time of the injury, but the court held that this fact did not afford any warrant for a cancellation of the minimum allowance made to him, the statute having made no provision for such a case. It was also said that the condition would be of comparatively short duration and without serious
results (Dennis v. Cafferty, p. 209). The Supreme Court of Nebraska took a similar view in the case of an injury to a minor employed as a laborer, who after his injury attended a business college and returned to his former employer at an advance in wages. Such advance was held, however (Epsten v. Hancock-Epsten Co., p. 291), not to be incompatible with an award as for loss of earning power, since this was the fact as to employment in his former occupation. A case of permanent impairment of use of a foot was before the Appellate Court of Indiana (Underhill v. Central Hospital for the Insane, p. 210), the claimant asking for benefits as for total disability. An award which considered the proportionate loss of use as compared with the actual loss of a foot was sustained by the court as falling within the implied limitations.
The Supreme Court of Massachusetts rejected the contention of the insurer that insanity from another cause than the injury for which compensation benefits were being paid should terminate such payments (In re Walsh, p. 224). This claim was based on the contention that insanity was analogous to death from a cause independent of the injury, but the court disallowed it and ordered the continuance of payments.
An agreed award was held not to be binding by the Supreme Court of Kansas (Weathers v. Kansas City Bridge Co., p. 282), where the extent of the disability was not known at the time of the settlement and signing of a release. The court held that if the mistake of fact was mutual, there should be an opportunity to develop the facts as they existed that a proper adjustment might be made. The proper award for the loss of a defective eye was passed upon by the Supreme Court of Michigan in a case (Purchase v Grand Rapids Refrigerator Co., p. 208) in which the injured man had had a defective eye since childhood, due to accidental injury. The eye was capable only of distinguishing light and perceiving approaching objects, and the contention was made that an award as for the loss of a perfect eye was not warranted. The workman was in fact able to return to work at undiminished wages after a few weeks, but the court held that the law made no specification as to the eye for which compensation should be awarded being normal, though perhaps a mere sightless organ might be considered no eye at all. In the case in hand, however, an award for full benefits was affirmed.
In State ex rel. Turner v. Employers' Liability Assurance Corp. (Ltd.) (p. 293), the Supreme Court of Ohio construed the law of that State requiring insurance companies to provide specifically for medi
cal expenses in their insurance contracts, this provision being held valid as a limitation upon the kind of contract that the companies might write in certain cases in the State.
The other cases under this head arose under the Indiana law, and hinged upon a single provision of the statute; all were decided by the appellate court. In the first case noted (In re Kelley, p. 272), it was found at the termination of the 30 days of required medical service that further attention was necessary in order to save the life of the injured man, whereupon the employer instructed the physician to continue treatment. The insurer contested its liability for such additional services, but it was held obligated, in view of the provisions of the act giving the employer the option of furnishing additional needed attendance, and requiring policies to cover all benefits offered by the act. Quite in contrast with the foregoing was a case (In re Henderson, p. 271) in which an evidently necessary operation was deferred until after the expiration of the statutory 30 days, and the question was raised whether the board could obligate the employer to pay the expenses of such deferred operation. The court found the statute somewhat ambiguous, but answered the question in the affirmative.
When the statutory 30 days begins to run was considered in a case (In re McCaskey, p. 271) in which the injured man did not become disabled from the accident until the 30 days' period had expired. The court held that in this case the injury and accident were not contemporaneous, but that the development of the resulting disability furnished the starting point of the period.
Notice and claim.-Failure to file notice on the mere assumption that somebody was safeguarding his interests was held by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts to be fatal in a case (In re Fells, p. 274) where the time elapsed without action, ignorance or mistake not being considered as reasonable justification. The same court. found the law not complied with where no notice and claim were filed in behalf of a nonresident widow, the injuries having been received in June, 1914, and an administrator appointed in February, 1915, who mailed a form of notice to the employer and to the board, which, however, was not received by the board (In re Gorski, p. 223). In this case, though the wife was absent, the son was present, and no sufficient reason appeared under the statute for condoning the delay. The Supreme Court of New York (In re Dorb, p. 273) held it not a sufficient notice of injury where the injured man simply telephoned that he was sick without indicating the nature of the illness or that there had been an accident. Subsequent conversa
tion with a foreman disclosed the nature of the injury, but not the time, place, or circumstances of its receipt, nor did it give any intimation that there would be a claim for compensation. It was also said that to admit such acts as notice would completely nullify the provision of the law for written notice, the object of which was to give the employer opportunity to make investigation of the circumstances of any alleged accidental injury.
Review. What must be regarded as a condition requiring legislative correction was developed in a case (Adleman v. Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corporation (Ltd.), p. 284) passed upon by the Court of Appeals of Maryland. An award had been made, following the death of a workman, for a term in excess of four and one-half years, to his mother and sister. After about six months the sister married, an event which would have caused the termination of payments to a widow, and the insurer sought a review of the award under the provision of the law that authorizes modification and reapportionment of awards on occasion. The court held, however, that it had no authority to annul the compensation of a beneficiary who was dependent at the time of the employee's death, a situation which obviously discriminates between the widow and other dependents whose marriage may take place during the compensation period.
A case involving readjustment of awards under the law of New Jersey, which permits such readjustment after a year from the original award, was considered by the supreme court of that State (Safety Insulated Wire & Cable Co. v. Court of Common Pleas, p. 272). The facts of this case resemble those found in cases under the previous heading of disability, the company having sought a modification of awards in view of the fact that the injured man, after being incapacitated for about a year and a half, had so far recovered from his condition of total disability as to be able to do light work, and had subsequently procured a position at wages in excess of those earned at the time of his injury. The court of common pleas took the ground that it could not review the award, but the supreme court reversed this, saying that a modification of the award might be had on a showing of change in conditions.
The effect of final settlements was passed upon in two cases noted, one before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts (In re McCarthy, p. 282), which held that a lump-sum settlement in full of all liability for the injuries received was binding even though a condition might develop from the injury unknown at the time of the settlement. The same view was taken by the Supreme Court of Kansas (Odrowski 2. Swift & Co., p. 283), where a release had been given about four months after the injury, on receipt of the amount of compensation due up to that time, no fraud or undue influence appearing in the
64919°-18-Bull. 246- 4