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At a Glance:
Title:
APD 010540
Date:
April 12, 2001

APD 010540

April 12, 2001

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 February 15, 2001. The sole issue was “Does the compensable injury of __________, extend to or include a lumbar injury and/or right carpal tunnel syndrome [CTS]?” The hearing officer found that “The Claimant [appellant] did not sustain a compensable lumbar spine injury or compensable right [CTS] on __________." Findings of fact are, among others, that the claimant has right CTS, an ordinary disease of life, and that the claimant suffers from chronic degenerative conditions of the lumbar spine. The claimant appeals these findings; the respondent (carrier) replies that the hearing officer's decision was sufficiently supported by the evidence.

DECISION

Finding sufficient evidence to support the decision of the hearing officer and no reversible error in the record, we affirm the decision and order of the hearing officer.

Extent of injury is a question of fact to be determined by the hearing officer. Section 410.165(a) provides that the hearing officer, as finder of fact, is the sole judge of the relevance and materiality of the evidence as well as of the weight and credibility that is to be given the evidence. It was for the hearing officer, as trier of fact, to resolve the inconsistencies and conflicts in the evidence. Garza v. Commercial Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey, 508 S.W.2d 701, 702 (Tex. Civ. App.-Amarillo 1974, no writ). This is equally true regarding medical evidence. Texas Employers Insurance Association v. Campos, 666 S.W.2d 286, 290 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1984, no writ). An appeals-level body is not a fact finder and does not normally pass upon the credibility of witnesses or substitute its own judgment for that of the trier of fact, even if the evidence would support a different result. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania v. Soto, 819 S.W.2d 619, 620 (Tex. App.-El Paso 1991, writ denied). When reviewing a hearing officer's decision for factual sufficiency of the evidence we should reverse such decision only if it is so contrary to the great weight and preponderance of the evidence as to be clearly wrong and unjust. Cain v. Bain, 709 S.W.2d 175, 176 (Tex. 1986); Pool v. Ford Motor Co., 715 S.W.2d 629, 635 (Tex. 1986). Applying this standard, we find sufficient evidence to support the decision of the hearing officer. This is so even though another fact finder might have drawn other inferences and reached other conclusions. Salazar v. Hill, 551 S.W.2d 518 (Tex. Civ. App.-Corpus Christi 1977, writ ref'd n.r.e.).

The decision and order of the hearing officer are affirmed.

Gary L. Kilgore
Appeals Judge

CONCUR:

Judy L. S. Barnes
Appeals Judge

Philip F. O’Neill
Appeals Judge

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