United Toolcraft, Inc. v. Sousley

Decision Date24 January 1958
Docket NumberNo. 18822,18822
Citation147 N.E.2d 558,128 Ind.App. 181
PartiesUNITED TOOLCRAFT, Inc., South Bend Tool & Die Company, Inc. and The Travelers Insurance Company, Appellants, v. Francis G. SOUSLEY, Appellee.
CourtIndiana Appellate Court

Jones, Obenchain, Johnson & Ford, Roland Obenchain, James H. Pankow, South Bend, for appellants.

Isadore D. Rosenfield, South Bend, Alvin D. Blieden, Michigan City, for appellee.

ROYSE, Presiding Judge.

This is the second appeal in this case. In United Toolcraft, etc., v. Sousley, 1956, Ind.App., 138 N.E.2d 165, 166, we remanded the case back to the Industrial Board because, while evidence had been introduced on the question raised by appellants' last three paragraphs of answer, the Full Board failed to make a finding on such issues. Our mandate was as follows:

'Proceeding remanded to the Industrial Board with instructions to make findings of fact on the issues presented by appellants in appellants' last three paragraphs of special answer.'

Thereafter, on May 7, 1957, the Full Industrial Board of Indiana, in conformity with our mandate, made its finding and award. The pertinent portions are as follows:

'That on or about the 20th day of July, 1953 the plaintiff was in the employ of the defendant, at an average weekly wage in excess of $50.00; that on said date he sustained personal injuries by reason of an accident, arising out of and in the course of his employment with the defendant, of which said accidental injury the defendant had knowledge but did not furnish the statutory medical attention and supplies; that the said accidental injury consisted of blisters to the plaintiff's right foot, which said blisters developed while the plaintiff was driving a truck for the said defendant, and which said blisters to the plaintiff's right foot aggravated a previous diabetic condition of the said plaintiff, necessitating the amputation of the plaintiff's right leg below the knee; that as a result of the said accidental injuries the plaintiff was temporarily totally disabled for a period in excess of twenty-six weeks at intermittent intervals, between July 20, 1953 to the date of the original hearing of said cause, June 22, 1955; and that the plaintiff shall be entitled to twenty-six weeks of temporary total disability on account of the said accidental injuries, in addition to any impairment benefits to which he may be entitled.

'* * * that on the 1st day of February, 1954 the defendants filed their Special Answer in four paragraphs * * *.

'* * * at the time of the plaintiff's said accidental injuries the Travelers Insurance Company was the Workmen's Compensation Insurance Carrier and the Group Insurance Carrier for the employees of the defendants herein.

'* * * that the plaintiff did not receive any Workmen's Compensation benefits whatsoever on account of the said accidental injuries.

'* * * that the defendant, The Travelers Insurance Company, paid plaintiff or paid in his behalf certain disability and medical expenses under the Group Insurance hereinbefore mentioned; that the said benefits were as follows:

Disability Benefits $325.00

Hospital and medical Benefits 454.00

'* * * that the said defendants shall be given credit for said sums as against any Workmen's Compensation benefits that may be awarded said plaintiff.

'* * * that the said plaintiff has never paid or tendered his employer (defendants) or to its Workmen's Compensation Insurance Carrier any part of the moneys so claimed or received by him under said Group Insurance policy; that the receipt of said Group Benefits by the plaintiff is not a bar to any award of compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act of the State of Indiana.' (Our emphasis.)

Upon these findings the Full Board awarded appellee compensation of $30 per week for a period of 26 weeks for temporary total disability and, in addition, compensation at the same rate for a period of 150 weeks for loss by amputation of appellee's right leg below the knee. It directed appellants to pay the reasonable and necessary hospital, medical and surgical expenses, and directed appellants to provide appellee with a suitable artificial limb for his amputated leg. It then allowed appellants a credit of $779 for disability and medical expenses paid under the group insurance policy.

We permitted the filing of a supplemental transcript of the foregoing proceedings, after which the parties filed supplemental briefs. We now proceed to a consideration of the questions now presented by the parties.

Appellants first contend the findings concerning the orgin of the blister on appellee's right great toe are not supported by substantial evidence. This requires a consideration of the evidence in the record most favorable to appellee.

The record discloses that for a number of years prior to July 20, 1953, appellee was employed by appellant United Toolcraft, Inc. In the course of such employment during July, 1953 he drove a loaded tractor and trailer from South Bend, Ind., to Bridgeport, Conn. and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and back to South Bend, Ind. There was evidence that the brakes were so defective he had to press exceedingly hard to stop the unit and he had to change gears on the truck to slow speed whenever it was necessary to stop. These trips were made when it was very hot, viz. 100 degrees or more. About July 14th he developed a blister on the ball of his left foot. This was treated by a doctor. After returning from Florida to South Bend he made three round trips from there to Charlevoix, Mich., with the truck in the same condition. On his return to South Bend from the last trip to Michigan, while bathing his foot he noticed a severe blister across the bottom of the great toe of his right foot. His foreman directed him to see a doctor, who sent him to a hospital at South Bend. About August 21st the toe was amputated. Other toes on the foot became discolored, and on September 23rd the right leg was removed a few inches below the knee. Appellee had suffered from diabetes for about twenty-five years prior to these events. He took insulin regularly. His employer and the company doctors knew of this condition. One of the physicians for appellee testified in answer to a hypothetical question substantially embracing the above facts--'My opinion is that this blister--pressure blister this man sustained is a precipitating factor or initiated the chain of circumstances that ultimately led to the loss of his extremity.' He said 'by loss of extremity' he meant the right leg below the knee.

While there was a conflict in the evidence of the doctors, we are of the opinion the foregoing evidence was amply sufficient to sustain the finding of the Board as to the cause of the blister. Heflin v. Red Front Cash & Carry Stores,...

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