![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]>
Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
When reviewing decisions from the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission, the appellate court views the evidence and all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light most favorable to the commission's findings, and affirms a decision if it is supported by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is that which a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. A decision by the commission shall not be reversed unless it is clear that fair-minded persons could not have reached the same conclusions if presented with the same facts. Additionally, temporary total disability is awarded when the claimant shows that he is within his healing period and is totally incapacitated from earning wages. And, the question of whether or not a claim is controverted is one of fact, to be determined from the circumstances of each particular case.
Appellee William Thomaston was employed with appellant Superior Industries until he was terminated. Appellant suffered a shoulder injury and was compensated by appellant based on a five percent permanent impairment rating. Thereafter, appellee filed for temporary total disability benefits but were controverted by appellant. Appellant claimed that it had made light-duty employment available to the appellee, and that appellant was terminated for misconduct not because of his physical limitations. After a hearing, the Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded the temporary total disability benefits to appellee. Appellant appealed the decision to determine whether the commission applied an improper legal standard in awarding benefits, whether the award was supported by substantial evidence, and whether the commission erred in finding that appellant controverted appellee's entitlement to shoulder surgery.
Was the Commission’s award of temporary total disability benefits to appellee proper?
The court affirmed the decision awarding appellee the temporary total disability benefits. The court found that; first, the appellee did not refuse the light duty employment; in fact, defendant accepted the employment and was later terminated, not by his choice, but at appellant's option. Second, the court found that appellee was clearly within his healing period when he was terminated, and there was evidence that he was totally incapacitated. Third, the court ruled that on the question of whether or not appellant controverted appellee's entitlement to shoulder surgery was one of fact, under the circumstances of this case, the commission's finding that the surgery was controverted was not erroneous.