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The fact that an appellee continues to work and earn money after his injury, even though he is suffering pain when he does so, not because he is able to work, but because of economic necessity to earn money and pay his bills, is not a bar to recovery of total and permanent disability.
Loyal Grant Price brought suit on January 28, 1958, to set aside an award of the Industrial Accident Board dated January 15, 1958. In December, 1958, at the time of trial, plaintiff filed a second amended original petition seeking to set aside such award and also to set aside another award dated August 11, 1958. The defendant Texas Employers' Insurance Association answered by general denial and specifically pleaded that Price’s alleged injury did not result in total or permanent incapacity, but that any injury Price may have received resulted only in partial and temporary incapacity, or resulted from other injuries and diseases or a combination thereof. The defendant also denied under oath that Price gave notice of his injury within the time required by law. The trial court awarded permanent, total disability benefits to Price. The insurer sought review and attacked the jurisdiction of the trial court, the amount of the verdict, the failure to submit material issues of fact to the jury, and prejudicial jury misconduct.
Did the fact that Price, because of economic necessity, continued to do some work, while experiencing pain, preclude a jury from determining that he was permanently, totally disabled?
The court held that when Price alleged in his complaint that he had complied with all requirements of the Texas Workman's Compensation Act, and it was not denied by the insurer, the jurisdictional requirements were met. There was ample evidence that on the day Price was knocked off the scaffold and was injured, both the superintendent for Price’s employer and Price’s immediate supervisor had actual notice. The fact that Price, because of economic necessity, continued to do some work, while experiencing pain, did not preclude a jury from determining that he was permanently, totally disabled. It was the province of the jury to determine the weight to be given evidence and to reconcile conflicts between the testimony. The fact that Price’s testimony was in conflict with expert opinion testimony concerning the extent of his disability did not, under the circumstances, render it insufficient to support the verdict. However, the acts of jury misconduct, in which one juror influenced the jury based on his own personal experiences, constituted reversible error.