This appeal arises pursuant to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, TEX. LAB. CODE ANN. § 401.001 et seq. (1989 Act). A contested case hearing was held on December 8, 2000. With respect to the issues before her, the hearing officer determined that the appellant (claimant) did not sustain a compensable injury on _________, and that he did not have disability. In his appeal, the claimant asserts that those determinations are against the great weight of the evidence. In its response to the claimant’s appeal, the respondent (carrier) urges affirmance.
The hearing officer did not err in determining that the claimant did not sustain a compensable injury on _________. Section 410.165(a) provides that the hearing officer is the sole judge of the weight and credibility of the evidence. There was conflicting evidence on the issue of whether the claimant injured his wrist while emptying a cooking pot at work. The hearing officer was acting within her province as the fact finder in determining that the claimant did not sustain his burden of proving that he injured his wrist at work as he claimed. Contrary to the claimant’s assertions, although the hearing officer appeared to believe that there was damage or harm to the physical structure of the claimant’s wrist, she was not required to accept his explanation of how the injury had occurred even in the absence of a contrary explanation of the cause of the injury. As the fact finder, the hearing officer was free to discount the claimant’s causation evidence and that is what she did here. Our review of the record does not demonstrate that the hearing officer’s determination that the claimant did not sustain a compensable injury is so against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence as to be clearly wrong or manifestly unjust. Therefore, no sound basis exists for us to reverse that determination on appeal. Cain v. Bain, 709 S.W.2d 175 (Tex. 1986).
Given our affirmance of the hearing officer’s determination that the claimant did not sustain a compensable injury, we likewise affirm her determination that the claimant did not have disability. By definition, the existence of a compensable injury is a prerequisite to a finding of disability. Section 401.011(16).
The hearing officer’s decision and order are affirmed.
Elaine M. Chaney
Philip F. O’Neill
Robert W. Potts