Gulf States Creosoting Co. v. Walker, 6 Div. 955.

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Writing for the CourtFOSTER, J.
Citation224 Ala. 104,139 So. 261
Docket Number6 Div. 955.
Decision Date14 January 1932

Certiorari to Circuit Court, Jefferson County; Romaine Boyd, Judge.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Clara Walker against the Gulf States Creosoting Company, to recover compensation as dependent widow of Efrom Walker on account of injury and death of the employee arising out of his employment. Judgment awarding compensation, and the employer brings certiorari.


Bradley Baldwin, All & White and W. M. Neal, all of Birmingham, for appellant.

Crampton Harris and Harold M. Cook, both of Birmingham, for appellee.


We think that there was ample evidence that deceased died from inguinal hernia, and that he was taken suddenly and painfully ill of its effects near the close of a day's work, in which he was engaged in handling heavy timbers in the course of his employment; that he had not shown any symptoms before then of a condition which would lead to such complaint, and died of it the next day. The expert evidence, without conflict, is that such condition is nearly always "caused by some strain, chronic cough or heavy lifting," but that some have a weakness there, and it does not take as much to bring it on, but a heavy lift is the most common cause.

It is not expected that this court nor the circuit court shall have expert judicial knowledge on the subject, which is superior to and should override that of those who are in fact experts. It may be true that it is often caused by inherited or slowly developing causes, and that the requirements of section 7551 (f) (1) are based upon that knowledge. But if there is a fair inference that it was caused by accidental means in any case that fact is established.

If deceased, while engaged in work of heavy lifting, and great strain, with no evidence of chronic cough or other cause of hernia, suddenly develops it in a very acute and painful state, which continues unabated, and he dies the following day, it is not, in our opinion, mere surmise or conjecture to find that his condition was produced by the nature of his work, but that it was so produced is rather a fair, if not conclusive, inference from those circumstances, recalling that there was evidence undisputed that such circumstances most commonly are the cause of such condition.

It is not necessary that the essential facts in a compensation case shall be proven by any different character of evidence than that prescribed by law in other cases. And circumstantial evidence is an admitted form of proof in that as well as in others. Sloss-Sheffield S. & I. Co. v. House, 217 Ala. 422, 116 So. 167; Republic S. & I. Co. v. Reed (Ala....

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18 cases
  • Alabama Textile Products Corp. v. Grantham, 4 Div. 833
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • August 18, 1955 accident' within the meaning of our workmen's compensation law when suffered in the manner outlined above. Gulf States Creosoting Co. v. Walker, 224 Ala. 104, 139 So. 261; De Arman v. Ingalls Iron Works Co., 258 Ala. 205, 61 So.2d 764; Purity Biscuit Co. v. Industrial Commission, 115 Uta......
  • Southern Cotton Oil Co. v. Wynn, 6 Div. 606
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • April 25, 1957
    ...the question of causal relation, can be proved by circumstantial evidence (Davis Lumber Co. v. Self, supra; Gulf States Creosoting Co. v. Walker, 224 Ala. 104, 106, 139 So. 261), and if there is any reasonable view of the evidence that will support the conclusion reached by the trial court,......
  • De Arman v. Ingalls Iron Works Co.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • December 4, 1952
    ...he met his death due to an accident which arose out of and in the course of his employment. In the case of Gulf States Creosoting Company v. Walker, 224 Ala. 104, 139 So. 261, 262, it was 'Accident here is said to have its 'popular or ordinary meaning: Happening by chance; unexpectedly taki......
  • Sam's Place v. Middleton, 3 Div. 28
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • June 10, 1958
    ...hernia was claimed to be a disqualifying pre-existing hernia; note Mr. Justice Foster's introductory remarks in Gulf States Creosoting Co. v. Walker, 224 Ala. 104, 139 So. 261. We construe the opinions in Wood v. Wagner Electric Corp., 355 Mo. 670, 197 S.W.2d 647, Boswell v. Liberty Mutual ......
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