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At a Glance:
Title:
APD 010590
Date:
April 25, 2001

APD 010590

April 25, 2001

This appeal arises pursuant to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, TEX. LAB. CODE ANN. § 401.001 et seq. (1989 Act). On February 20, 2001, a contested case hearing was held. With respect to the issue before him, the hearing officer determined that the appellant’s (claimant) compensable injury of __________, did not extend to and include the lumbar and cervical spine. In his appeal, the claimant contends that the hearing officer’s extent-of-injury determination is against the great weight of the evidence. In its response to the claimant’s appeal, the respondent (self-insured) urges affirmance.

DECISION

Affirmed.

The hearing officer did not err in determining that the claimant’s compensable injury did not extend to the cervical and lumbar spine. Extent of injury is a question of fact. Texas Workers' Compensation Commission Appeal No. 93613, decided August 24, 1993. Section 410.165(a) provides that the contested case 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 and to determine what facts the evidence has established. Garza v. Commercial Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey, 508 S.W.2d 701, 702 (Tex. Civ. App.-Amarillo 1974, no writ). When reviewing a hearing officer's decision for sufficiency of the evidence, we should reverse such decision only if it is so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence as to be clearly wrong or manifestly unjust. Cain v. Bain, 709 S.W.2d 175, 176 (Tex. 1986).

In this instance, there was conflicting evidence on the question of whether the door came into contact with the claimant’s body when it was slammed shut on __________. The hearing officer resolved that conflict against the claimant and he was acting within his province as the fact finder in so doing. Nothing in our review of the record demonstrates that the hearing officer’s determination that the claimant’s compensable injury does not extend to or include the cervical and lumbar spine is so against the great weight of the evidence as to be clearly wrong or manifestly unjust. Therefore, no sound basis exists for us to disturb the hearing officer’s extent-of-injury determination on appeal.

The hearing officer’s decision and order are affirmed.

Elaine M. Chaney
Appeals Judge

CONCUR:

Michael B. McShane
Appeals Judge

Philip F. O’Neill
Appeals Judge

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