Argonaut Ins. Co. v. Cline, 52091

Citation227 S.E.2d 405,138 Ga.App. 778
Decision Date21 April 1976
Docket NumberNo. 52091,No. 2,52091,2
CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)

Savell, Williams, Cox & Angel, Lawson A. Cox, II, Atlanta, for appellants.

Roy D. Moultrie, Hamilton, for appellee.

EVANS, Judge.

This is a Workmen's Compensation case. Claimant was a laborer clearing an electrical right-of-way. He contends that on the 2nd day of July, 1974, that he was pulling cable away from a tractor when the cable became entangled and jerked him backwards, that he felt a sharp pain in his back as a result of the cable pulling him, and that he immediately told his supervisor that he had hurt his back. He did not work the next day or again until July 8, due to the 4th of July holiday weekend. On the 12th of July, 1974, after working about two hours, he contends his back again began hurting him so severely that the supervisor of the employer and another drove him to the office of a physician. Subsequently, he underwent an operation following failure of routine treatment, having two discs removed and a fusion of his back accomplished. He filed a claim for Workmen's Compensation and after a hearing before the administrative law judge, a finding of fact was made that the employer had knowledge of the accident within 30 days of its occurrence and that even though there was evidence of a pre-existing congenital defect in his back, an accident had occurred on July 2, 1974, aggravating the pre-existing condition which produced claimant's disability, and the same arose out of and in the course of his employment.

On appeal to the full board, after considering the evidence of a medical expert who operated on him, the board held this expert was of the opinion 'the claimant was suffering from a degenerative disc condition not attributable to an accident or specific incident as opposed to a herniated disc condition caused by accident or injury' (T. 269). The full board also determined that the claimant did not notify his employer of the job-related accident or injury 'on or about July 2 or 12, 1974, within the time required by law and the employer had no knowledge of a job-related injury,' and there was no excuse for the failure to notify employer. The board then contended that if he did suffer or experience an incident at work, it was not disabling and did not aggravate his pre-existing back condition and that the pain, 'if experienced at work,' merely represented the manifestation of a gradual, progressive, degenerative condition which would have occurred regardless of whether the claimant was engaged in the duties of his work . . . which was in no way aggravated by the claimant's activities at work.

The board substituted its award for the award of the administrative law judge and denied compensation. On appeal to the superior court, it found that the sole examiner's finding was correct as a matter of fact and law, and the findings of fact and conclusion of law of the full board were reversed. The insurer-employer appeals. Held:

1. The board first determined in its findings of fact that the claimant did not notify the employer of an alleged job-related accident or injury on or about July 2 or July 12, 1974, within the time required by law (30 days) and therefore the employer had no knowledge of a job-related injury. The administrative judge accepted the testimony of the claimant that he did so notify the supervisor (Wayne Adams) of injury on the job on July 2, 1974, albeit there was some question as to whether Adams had heard him. But Adams testified that on the 12th of July, 1974, he and another employee, Atwell, took the claimant to the doctor at Pine Mountain, Georgia, for a pain in the back which he called a mere 'catch' from sitting on the back of a truck. The supervisor (Adams) was supposed to bring the employee (Atwell) back to work, but when it was necessary to take the injured claimant on to Columbus to the hospital, the supervisor returned to the job without Atwell. Approximately two weeks later the employer's public relations expert and engineer on the job, in a conversation with the supervisor and the superintendent, Floyd, asked about the claimant. The superintendent answered with the supervisor, Wayne Adams, present, 'Wayne told me that John (the claimant) was sitting on the back of the pick-up and got a catch in his back and said that he thought it would be all right in a few minutes, but they did take him to the doctor.'

The required notice need not be given with a view to claiming compensation and is sufficient if it puts the employer on notice of the injury so that it may make an investigation if it sees fit to do so. Railway Express Agency, Inc. v. Harper, 70 Ga.App. 795(1), 796, 29 S.E.2d 434; Davison-Paxon Co. v. Ford, 88 Ga.App. 890, 892, 78 S.E.2d 257; Williams v. Morrison Assurance Co., 138 Ga.App. 191, 225 S.E.2d 778. Indeed in Georgia Pacific Corp. v. Buchanan, 113 Ga.App. 844(3), 149 S.E.2d 831, it has been held that where the claimant leaves his job 'to visit a doctor because of pain and that the employer had knowledge of such facts' such notice is sufficient to put the employer on inquiry as to the circumstances surrounding such disability. The evidence here demands a finding that such notice as required by Code § 114-304 was given, putting this employer on notice that this claimant may have been injured on the job on or about July 12. 'No defect or inaccuracy in the notice shall be a bar to compensation unless the employer shall...

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  • Miller & Meier & Associates v. Diedrich, 69481
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 15, 1985
    ...any reason, it should be affirmed even though there may possibly be an erroneous reason for that judgment. Argonaut Ins. Co. v. Cline, 138 Ga.App. 778, 782(4), 227 S.E.2d 405 (1976). 2. One of the grounds for the grant of judgment notwithstanding the verdict was that OCGA § 14-2-153 does no......
  • Kitchens v. Winter Co. Builders, Inc.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 17, 1982 this connection Lee v. Porter, 63 Ga. 345, 346; Coker v. City of Atlanta, 186 Ga. 473(1), 198 S.E. 74; Argonaut Insurance Company v. Cline, 138 Ga.App. 778, 782(4), 227 S.E.2d 405; Davis v. Jeep Corporation, 138 Ga.App. 805, 806(2), 227 S.E.2d 455. In the case sub judice it has been call......
  • Lewis v. Rickenbaker
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 15, 1985
    ...that where the judgment of the trial court is proper and legal for any reason, it should be affirmed. Argonaut Ins. Co. v. Cline, 138 Ga.App. 778, 782(4), 227 S.E.2d 405. As was said by Justice Weltner of our Supreme Court in his concurring opinion in Henderson Elec. Co. v. IBEW, 250 Ga. 26......
  • Mission Ins. Co. v. Ware, 54239
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • September 29, 1977
    ...of the reason assigned. Lockhart v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., supra, 141 Ga.App. pp. 480-81, 233 S.E.2d 810; Argonaut Ins. Co. v. Cline, 138 Ga.App. 778, 782(4), 227 S.E.2d 405. There is no Judgment affirmed. DEEN, P. J., and WEBB, J., concur. ...
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