Estep v. Blackwood Fuel Co. Inc

Decision Date25 November 1946
Citation40 S.E.2d. 181,185 Va. 695
CourtVirginia Supreme Court

Appeal from Industrial Commission.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Law by Simon Estep, claimant, opposed by Blackwood Fuel Company, Incorporated, employer. From an award of the Industrial Commission disallowing the claim, claimant appeals.



Robert B. Ely, of Jonesville, for appellant.

Fred B. Greear, of Norton, and Alva A. Hollon, of Hazard, Ky, for appellee.


Simon Estep, a coal miner, employed by Blackwood Fuel Company, Incorporated, filed with the Industrial Commission a claim for compensation, alleging that he had lost the vision of his left eye 'by reason of its exposure to the brilliant light or "flash" occasioned by an electric welder which he was using about his employer's business. Both the hearing commissioner and the full Commission disallowed the claim, on the ground that the preponderance of the evidence showed that the claimant's impaired vision was due to natural causes--a diseased condition of the eye--and not to the alleged accident. From this award Estep has appealed, claiming in substance that the finding is contrary to the evidence and not supported by it.

In reviewing the award, on such an issue, we must remember that under the provisions of section 61 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, Acts 1918, ch. 400, p. 637, as amended, Michie's Code of 1942, § 1887(61), the Commission's findings of fact, when based on evidence deemed by it to be credible, are conclusive and binding on us, and in the absence of fraud are not subject to review. Carter v. Hercules Powder Co, 182 Va. 282, 288, 28 S.E.2d 736, 739, and cases there cited.

While the alleged injury is frequently referred to in the evidence and in the briefs as a "burn, " there is no evidence, and indeed no claim, that the tissues of the eye or those of the surrounding area were in fact burned by the heat generated during the welding operation. The claim is that the vision of the eye was destroyed by reason of its exposure, on four occasions, to the brilliant light caused by the electric arc or "flash" which results from the welding process. On each of these occasions, Estep testified, he was using the shield with which he had been provided for the protection of his face and the upper portion of his body during the operation.

Estep, whose age is not disclosed by the record, testified that the first injury to his eye resulted from an exposure on June 25, 1945. He noticed during the operation of the appliance that his eyesight was "darkened to some extent, " and that not until several hours thereafter was he able to see clearly. Later on during the day and night, he said, both eyes "hurt, smarted and burned, " and he experienced the sensation that they had "sand in them." He lost no time from his work as the result of this incident and merely applied home remedies to his eyes.

On June 28 and July 2, he said, he had similar experiences from the welding operation. The result was more severe and the pain to his eyes was of longer duration. Again he applied home remedies. He suffered a fourth exposure and injury on July 25, he said.

In the meantime, on July 9, Estep said, he had reported these occurrences to one of his superiors at the office of his employer. This the employer denied, but that is not now material. At any rate, on July 17, Estep, of his own accord and at his own expense, visited Dr. C. H. Henderson, an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist, connected with the Norton General Hospital. After a careful examination of both eyes, Dr. Henderson...

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10 cases
  • Com. v. Bakke
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • September 27, 2005
    ...of fact" and is conclusive and binding on appeal. Johnson, 189 Va. at 588, 54 S.E.2d at 107-08 (citing Estep v. Blackwood Fuel Co., 185 Va. 695, 699, 40 S.E.2d 181, 183 (1946), and Mulkey v. Firth Bros. Iron Works, 188 Va. 451, 455, 50 S.E.2d 404, 406 The Program argues that the commission ......
  • Pittsylvania Cnty. Bd. of Supervisors v. Hall
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals
    • June 12, 2018
    ...evidence determines the cause of an injury, that determination is a finding of fact to which we defer. See Estep v. Blackwood Fuel Co., 185 Va. 695, 699, 40 S.E.2d 181, 183 (1946). "Though not necessarily conclusive, 'the opinion of the treating physician is entitled to great weight.'" Berg......
  • Williams v. Fuqua, 4761
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • January 20, 1958
    ...that a condition or death was due to a disease rather than to an industrial accident is such a finding of fact. Estep v. Blackwood Fuel Co., 185 Va. 695, 699, 40 S.E.2d 181, 183; Mulkey v. Firth Bros. Iron Works, 188 Va. 451, 455, 50 S.E.2d 404, 406. ' Johnson v. Capitol Hotel, supra, at pa......
  • Stump v. Norfolk Shipbldg. & Dry Dock Corp.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1948
    ...subject to review. Cafter v. Hercules Powder Co., 182 Va. 282, 288, 28 S.E.2d 736, 739, and cases there cited." Estep v. Blackwood Fuel Co., 185 Va. 695, 696, 40 S.E.2d 181. Humphries v. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., 183 Va. 466, 32 S.E.2d 689; Griffey v. Clinchfield Coal Corp.,......
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