Buck & Simmons Auto & Elec. Supply Co. v. Kesterson

Decision Date07 June 1952
Citation194 Tenn. 115,30 Beeler 115,250 S.W.2d 39
Parties, 194 Tenn. 115 BUCK & SIMMONS AUTO & ELECTRIC SUPPLY CO. et al. v. KESTERSON.
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

M. G. Goodwin, Lenoir City, Hodges & Doughty, Knoxville, for appellants.

Danniel & Fowler, Loudon, for appellee.

BURNETT, Justice.

This is a Workmen's Compensation case. The trial judge found in favor of the injured employee. The employee 'suffers from traumatic or posttraumatic neurosis precipitated by said accident' and that as a result thereof the employee is totally disabled.

In the main there are two questions raised by this appeal. First, is the question of whether or not the appellants employed as many as five employees at the time of injury on August 16, 1950. This question was raised below by a plea in abatement upon which issue was joined and proof heard. A wayside bill of exceptions preserving the evidence on this plea in abatement is incorporated in the record. The second question is whether or not when one suffers from 'a traumatic or posttraumatic neurosis' occasioned by an accident is that one entitled to compensation under the Act.

The record shows that some three or four years prior to the accident two Simmons brothers operated a store selling electric supplies, etc., under the name of Buck & Simmons Auto & Electric Supply Company. About a year before the accident happened these two brothers purchased surplus property, including flat-top houses, from the Atomic Energy Commission at Oak Ridge and moved these houses from there to Loudon County. Kesterson, the appellee, was engaged as a laborer in helping move these houses from Oak Ridge to Loudon County when the accident claimed to have caused the injuries happened. Three men including the two Simmons brothers and the appellee moved these houses down roads from Anderson County into Loudon County. As they approached a barricade in a road the injured employee went to move part of the barricade and a flare that was in the road and as he stooped over to do so and raised up, the truck on which one of these houses was located struck him in the neck and cut a place in his neck. From this injury, according to his statements and those of some of the doctors, one arm was paralyzed and he continued to suffer almost unbearable pain thereafter. Various doctors including the local physician of the employee testify that as a result of this injury the employee suffers a traumatic neurosis which was caused by this accident. As a result of the accident, and the suffering the employee had, he was caused to and did wear a collar or a brace, known as a Thomas Collar, around his neck for some time and was wearing it at the time of the trial. There is proof to the effect that the nerves were injured and that the employee actually, in his own mind, suffered this pain which caused him total and permanent disability. Neurosurgeons, psychiatrists and orthopedic specialists testify in the record. There are apparently no broken bones. We think the record amply supports the conclusion of the trial judge, which is based on the testimony of doctors selected by the court to make an examination, that this injury is permanent and total and that the injured employee is not feigning or just putting on. Insofar as being injured is concerned, in this way, there is no doubt. The appellants apparently concede that such is true. In their brief they say: 'From the evidence above set out it is to be seen that there was ample material evidence to support the court's finding that the petitioner's disability was due to traumatic or posttraumatic neurosis.

'The question poses itself as to whether such disability is compensable under the Workmen's Compensation Law of Tennessee--as amended in 1947.'

We will first dispose of the second question presented in this record. Code Section 6852(d) as appeared before the amendments thereto in 1947 provided that: "Injury' and 'personal injury' shall mean only injury * * * and shall not include a disease in any form except as it shall naturally result from the injury.' The Legislature amended this Section in 1947 to read thus: "Injury' and 'personal injury' shall mean any injury * * * and shall include certain occupational diseases * * *'.

It is the contention of the appellants that by this change in the Act a neurosis of the kind here complained of is excluded because in the occupational diseases set forth following the 1947 amendment a neurosis of the kind is not included and that therefore since it is not included in the occupational diseases the Act does not cover the injury here admitted. We are unable to agree with this contention. It seems to us that the amendment by inserting the word 'any' in place of the word 'only' really broadens the terms of the Act. By so adding these diseases the Act is not limited to these specified occupational diseases if the disability of the injured employee is a result of an injury arising out of and in the course of his employment. Prior to the 1947 amendment this Court has held in a number of cases that a disease connected with the injury was compensable. Vester Gas Range & Mfg. Co. v. Leonard, 148 Tenn. 665, 257 S.W. 395; King v. Buckeye Cotton Oil Co., 155 Tenn. 491, 296 S.W. 3, 53 A.L.R. 1086; Sears-Roebuck & Co. v. Finney, 169 Tenn. 547, 89 S.W.2d 749.

In Burton-Shields Co. v. Steele, 119 Ind.App. 216, 83 N.E.2d 623, 626, 85 N.E.2d 263, the Indiana Court held that the word 'injury' in a Workmen's Compensation Act was broader than the mere reference to some objective physical break or wound to the body and includes the consequences therefrom such as mental ailments or nervous conditions. The Indiana Court also in Kingan & Co. v. Ossam, 75 Ind.App. 548, 121 N.E. 289, 292, said: 'The fact that appellee was suffering from a mental or nervous condition resulting from a physical injury, rather than from the physical injury itself, cannot have the effect of relieving appellant from liability. This court is committed to the doctrine that a 'personal injury,' as that term is used in the Workmen's Compensation Act, has reference not merely to some break in some part of the body, or some wound thereon or the like, but also to the consequence or disability that results therefrom.'

We think that by applying such a rule here we meet with the requirements of the Workmen's Compensation Act which must be construed liberally, Thornton v. RCA Service Co., Inc., 188 Tenn. 644, 221 S.W.2d 954. We adopt such a rule. This rule, as so...

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13 cases
  • McKenzie v. Campbell & Dann Mfg. Co.
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • February 8, 1962
    ...neurosis has been recognized as an 'injury' within the meaning of the Act in the case of Buck & Simmons Auto & Electric Supply Co. et al. v. Kesterson, 194 Tenn. 115, 250 S.W.2d 39, in the following 'Where employee suffered cut neck when struck by truck, traumatic or posttraumatic neurosis ......
  • Orman v. Williams Sonoma, Inc.
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • January 14, 1991
    ...work-related accident. Gentry v. E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co., 733 S.W.2d 71, 73 (Tenn.1987); Buck & Simmons Auto and Elec. Supply Co. v. Kesterson, 194 Tenn. 115, 250 S.W.2d 39, 40-41 (1952). ...
  • McCall v. National Health Corporation, No. M2004-00261-WC-R3-CV (Tenn. Sp. Workers Comp. 11/3/2006), M2004-00261-WC-R3-CV.
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court — Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel
    • November 3, 2006
    ...Charlotte McCall v. National Health Corporation, 100 S.W.3d 209 (Tenn. 2003). 2. In the case of Buck & Simmons Auto & Electric Supply Co. v. Kesterson, 194 Tenn. 115, 250 S.W.2d 39 (1952), an award of total and permanent disability was allowed where the employee was struck by a vehicle and ......
  • Clark v. Electronic City
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • May 3, 1977
    ...493, 197 So. 117 (1940). Defendant relies on Threet v. Cox, 189 Tenn. 477, 226 S.W.2d 86 (1949) and Buck & Simmons Auto & Electric Sup. Co. v. Kesterson, 194 Tenn. 115, 250 S.W.2d 39 (1952). held without discussion of the point that entirely independent businesses are not to be added togeth......
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