Your FREE and easy resource for all things Texas workers' compensation
At a Glance:
Title:
APD 020061
Date:
February 8, 2002

APD 020061

February 8, 2002

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 November 30, 2001. With respect to the issues before her, the hearing officer determined that the appellant/cross-respondent (claimant) sustained a compensable injury on __________, and that he had disability, as a result of the compensable injury, from April 10 to April 23, 2001. In his appeal, the claimant argues that the hearing officer erred in determining that his disability ended on April 23, 2001. In its cross-appeal, the respondent/cross-appellant (carrier) argues that the hearing officer’s determinations that the claimant sustained a compensable injury and that he had disability are against the great weight of the evidence. In the alternative, the carrier urges affirmance of the determination that the claimant’s disability ended on April 23, 2001. In his response to the carrier’s cross-appeal, the claimant contends that the carrier’s cross-appeal was untimely. Alternatively, the claimant urges affirmance of the injury determination.

DECISION

Affirmed.

Initially, we address the claimant’s contention that the carrier’s cross-appeal is untimely. On June 17, 2001, Section 410.202 was amended to exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays listed in Section 662.003 of the Government Code in the computation of the 15-day appeal period. The carrier’s Austin representative signed for the hearing officer’s decision on December 19, 2001. As such, the carrier had until January 15, 2002, to file a timely appeal. The Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission received the carrier’s cross-appeal on January 10, 2002, and therefore, it was timely filed.

The issues of whether the claimant sustained a compensable injury and whether he had disability as a result were questions of fact for the hearing officer. The hearing officer is the sole judge of the relevance and materiality of the evidence and of its weight and credibility. Section 410.165(a). The hearing officer resolves conflicts and inconsistencies in the evidence and decides what facts the evidence has established. Texas Employers Ins. Ass'n v. Campos, 666 S.W.2d 286 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1984, no writ). Generally, injury and disability may be proven by the testimony of the claimant alone, if it is believed by the hearing officer. Gee v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 765 S.W.2d 394 (Tex. 1989). When reviewing a hearing officer's decision, we will 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); Pool v. Ford Motor Co., 715 S.W.2d 629, 635 (Tex. 1986).

The carrier contends that the hearing officer's injury and disability determinations are against the great weight of the evidence. In so arguing, the carrier emphasizes the same factors on appeal as it emphasized at the hearing. The significance, if any, of those factors was a matter left to the hearing officer in determining whether the claimant had sustained his burden of proving injury and disability. The hearing officer resolved the conflicts and inconsistencies in the evidence in favor of the claimant and she was acting within her province as the fact finder in so doing. Our review of the record does not demonstrate that the challenged determinations are so contrary to the great weight of the evidence as to be clearly wrong or manifestly unjust. Therefore, no sound basis exists for us to reverse them on appeal. Cain; Pool.

Finally, we consider the claimant’s appeal of the hearing officer’s determination that his disability ended on April 23, 2001. The claimant contends that the ending date of disability found by the hearing officer is against the great weight of the evidence. We find no merit in this assertion. The hearing officer was not persuaded that the claimant sustained his burden of proving disability after April 23, 2001, and we cannot agree that her determination in that regard is so contrary to the great weight of the evidence as to compel its reversal on appeal. Cain; Pool.

The hearing officer’s decision and order are affirmed.

The true corporate name of the insurance carrier is HEARTLAND LLOYDS INSURANCE COMPANY and the name and address of its registered agent for service of process is

FRANCIS RAYE C/O J. I. SPECIALTY SERVICES

9229 WATERFORD CENTER BOULEVARD #100

AUSTIN, TEXAS 78758.

Elaine M. Chaney
Appeals Judge

CONCUR:

Judy L. S. Barnes
Appeals Judge

Chris Cowan
Appeals Judge

Top