Exxon Co., U.S. A. v. Rodriguez

Decision Date16 February 1982
Docket NumberNo. AC-415,AC-415
Citation410 So.2d 571
PartiesEXXON COMPANY, U.S.A., and Petroleum Casualty Company, Appellants, v. Fidel RODRIGUEZ, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Barry A. Pemsler of Richard, Tharp & Pemsler, Miami, for appellants.

Jay M. Levy of Silver, Levy & Hershoff, Miami, for appellee.

WIGGINTON, Judge.

The carrier in this workers' compensation action challenges the award of certain medical expenses and wage-loss benefits, and it contests the deputy commissioner's finding that Rodriguez suffered a compensable anxiety reaction. The carrier also challenges the deputy's reservation of jurisdiction to award an attorney's fee based upon future benefits. On cross-appeal, the claimant argues that the deputy's award of a $1,700 fee was too low. We reverse in part.

Preliminarily, we affirm the deputy's finding that the claimant suffered a compensable injury. Rodriguez, a Cuban emigrant with a limited knowledge of the English language, was working as a mechanic at an Exxon gas station when he attempted to lift a wheel and experienced a sharp back pain. The station manager advised him to sit and rest but the pain became acute, so Rodriguez went home and summoned a doctor, who made a house call the following day. Meanwhile, Rodriguez noticed what he called "intestinal bleeding." He testified that he had never previously been treated for any problems with intestines, hemorrhoids, or his stomach. After three hospitalizations and batteries of tests, the treating physician diagnosed severe lumbar sprain and bleeding internal hemorrhoids.

The carrier contends it should not be responsible for medical expenses related to the bleeding hemorrhoids because the industrial accident did not create the hemorrhoids. Such a contention is of no consequence. Although the doctor testified the hemorrhoids were not caused by the accident, he also stated that the bleeding could have been caused by the lifting incident Rodriguez described. The combined testimony of the doctor and claimant established that the injury followed on the heels of the accident and that the activity involved in the accident could cause such an injury. There is no hint of any other cause of the bleeding, and no indication that any bleeding would have occurred but for the accident. From these facts, the deputy could properly infer a causal connection between the lifting incident and the onset of bleeding that required medical testing and treatment. See Looney v. W & J Construction Company, 289 So.2d 723 (Fla.1974).

We also reject the carrier's argument that because the doctors and hospitals did not file reports as required by Section 440.13, Florida Statutes (1979), their bills are not the carrier's responsibility. When Rodriguez told the employer that he was in need of medical treatment, a supervisor furnished him an insurance card, bearing the name of the company's group insurer, to present at the hospital. The treating physician directed his bills to that carrier, and he was paid. As a result of this confusing situation which was created by the employer the doctor was led to believe he had satisfied his reporting requirements, while the hospitals and their physicians were unaware that this was a workers' compensation case. Under these circumstances, we find that the failure to file reports under § 440.13 was not fatal to Rodriguez' claim for these medical...

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2 cases
  • Sinclair Trucking v. Bailey
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • March 19, 1993
    ...that claimant's hemorrhoids and other rectal problems were caused and aggravated by his job as a bus driver); Exxon Co., U.S.A. v. Rodriguez, 410 So.2d 571 (Fla.App.1982) (affirming award of worker's compensation benefits for the claimant's hemorrhoid bleeding caused by attempting to lift a......
  • Landings Ltd. v. Division of Florida Land Sales and Condominiums, AB-455
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • February 16, 1982

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