Ashley v. South Carolina Highway Dept.

Decision Date22 September 1948
Docket Number16127.
PartiesASHLEY v. SOUTH CAROLINA HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT.
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

R. L. Ballentine and Leon Harris, both of Anderson for appellant.

Watkins & Watkins, of Anderson, for respondent.

FISHBURNE Justice.

This is an appeal by the claimant, M. H. Ashley, from an order of the circuit court reversing an award of the Industrial Commission. The Commission found that Ashley as a result of an accident arising in the course of his employment, was totally disabled and entitled to compensation at his compensable wage until he returned to work at his regular salary or was pronounced as having reached maximum improvement by a competent physician. The sole question for determination is whether there is any competent evidence to justify the conclusion of the Commission that there was a causal connection between the accident sustained by the claimant and the alleged headaches which he testified commenced immediately thereafter.

Appellant was employed by the State Highway Department as a patrolman. On the night of September 5, 1946, between nine and ten o'clock, while on patrol duty, he was in pursuit of an automobile because of some alleged infraction of the law. While giving chase in his patrol car, be was blinded by the lights of an oncoming car, which he says caused him to run into the rear of a car on the right hand side of the road, traveling in the same direction as he, which he failed to see. He was moving at a rate of at least fifty five miles an hour. As a result of the collision, he was thrown forward and his head broke through his windshield. He suffered various cuts and bruises; he had a laceration in the back of his scalp and another on the top of his head extending to the hairline of his forehead. He received also, what is described as 'brush' wounds on each side of his face, and a tiny cut on his lip. Shortly after the accident he was taken to the hospital in the city of Anderson, where his wounds were treated and sutured. The head wound, although deep and open down to the skull, resulted in no fracture of his skull. He was at the hospital only a few hours.

Dr Martin, who attended him at the Anderson hospital, saw him again at claimant's home three days later, on September 8th. Claimant went to Dr. Martin's office on September 12th, at which time the stitches were removed. Except for this medical and hospital treatment, no physician was thereafter called upon to attend the claimant professionally until a week before the ensuing April 7, 1947--six months later--when he was proparing for a hearing before the single commissioner.

The claimant testified that he had suffered from headaches ever since the accident, but that he had not suffered from headaches prior thereto. He said that he experienced dizziness in the head when he bent over and straightened up and that these headaches and dizziness had disabled him, and rendered him unable to work or assist in the work on his father's farm. Dr. Martin testified that claimant complained of headache and dizziness on the night of the injury while in the hospital and again on September 8th and September 12th; that from the latter day until six months later he had not seen or attended him.

Dr. S. H. Ross, at claimant's request, examined him on April 7, 1947, the morning of the hearing before the single commissioner. He had not been called upon to attend claimant prior to that time. Both Dr. Ross and Dr. Martin testified as witnesses for the claimant.

Dr. Ross testified that when he examined claimant on the morning of the hearing, he had chronic infection of the four main sinuses. The import of the opinion expressed by Dr. Ross was that the injuries received by claimant in the automobile collision would not affect the sinuses at all. When asked whether a severe injury, like that suffered by claimant on September 5, 1946, would aggravate the pre-existing condition of sinus, he replied: 'Well, I don't think that would affect the sinuses at all. That probably wouldn't. I don't see hardly how it could.' He was then asked if in his opinion there was any relation between the head injury and the headaches or dizziness complained of. The doctor then said: 'The possibility that I see there would be that the pain could be due to his sinuses, or it could be due to the fact that there is something in his injury that hasn't been uncovered. I mean, there may be some pressure somewhere on his brain, and when he stoops down it interferes with the blood supply to his brain.'

Dr. Ross advised that an X-ray examination should be made, in which event he would look for a fracture. 'The next thing would be any callus formations in case there was a fracture, and thickening of the skull on the inside would give you some pressure there, and * * * you've got to rule it out--rule this injury out completely.'

Dr. Martin, who attended claimant on the night of the injury testified to the nature of the cuts and bruises on his face and head. He stated positively that there was no fracture. He said, 'I could feel and see the injury and the open areas, and there was no evidence of fracture at that time.'

Approximately six months later, just before the hearing, when Dr. Martin saw the claimant and he complained of continuing headaches he advised him to have an X-ray, because he could see no reason for headaches. When questioned by appellant's counsel, 'Doctor, can you give us any idea or reason for these continued severe headaches since this injury?,' Dr. Martin replied: 'I don't know; I don't have any...

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4 cases
  • Buff v. Columbia Baking Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 10, 1949
    ......et al. No. 16229.Supreme Court of South CarolinaJune 10, 1949 .           [215. S.C. 42] ... Compensation 151; Ferguson v. State Highway. Department, 197 S.C. 520, 15 S.E.2d 775; Holly v. [215. ... sustain an award by the Industrial Commission. Ashley v. South Carolina Highway Dept., 213 S.C. 354, 49 S.E.2d. ......
  • Crenshaw v. Pendleton Mfg. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • February 4, 1949
    ......CO. et al. No. 16179.Supreme Court of South" CarolinaFebruary 4, 1949 [54 S.E.2d 62] . .       \xC2"... South Carolina Industrial Commission made an award which was. paid in ... Commission. Ashley v. South Carolina Highway Dept., 213. S.C. 354, 49 S.E.2d ......
  • Burgess v. Belton Mills
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 14, 1949
    ...... v. BELTON MILLS et al. No. 16262.Supreme Court of South CarolinaSeptember 14, 1949 .           [215. ...12 Post Exchange, 207 S.C. 258, 35 S.E.2d 838; Ashley v. South Carolina Highway. Department, 213 S.C. 354, 49 ......
  • Hewitt v. Cheraw Cotton Mills
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 31, 1950
    ......No. 16363.Supreme Court of South Carolina.May 31, 1950 . .         [217 S.C. 91] ...        Appellant relies. upon the case of Ashley v. S. C. Highway Dept., 213. S.C. 354, 49 S.E.2d 505, but ......

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