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 28, 2000. With respect to the issues before him, 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 back at work. The hearing officer was acting within his province as the fact finder in determining that the claimant did not sustain his burden of proving that he injured his back at work as he claimed. The hearing officer was not required to accept the claimant’s 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 he 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 his 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
Thomas A. Knapp
Philip F. O'Neill