This appeal arises pursuant to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, TEX. LAB. CODE ANN. § 401.001 et seq. (1989 Act). A contested case hearing (CCH) was held on September 28, 2009, in (City), Texas, with (AE) presiding as hearing officer. The hearing officer resolved the disputed issues by deciding that: (1) the respondent (claimant) sustained a compensable injury on ___________; (2) the appellant (carrier) is not relieved from liability under Section 409.002 because of the claimant’s failure without good cause to timely notify his employer pursuant to Section 409.001; and (3) the claimant had disability beginning October 3, 2008, through the date of the CCH. The carrier appealed, disputing the compensable injury, timely notice to employer and disability determinations. The claimant responded, urging affirmance.
Affirmed in part and reversed and rendered in part.
The hearing officer’s determination that the claimant sustained a compensable injury is supported by sufficient evidence and is affirmed.
TIMELY REPORTING TO EMPLOYER
The hearing officer’s determination that the carrier is not relieved from liability under Section 409.002 because of the claimant’s failure without good cause to timely notify his employer pursuant to Section 409.001 is supported by sufficient evidence and is affirmed.
Disability means the inability to obtain and retain employment at wages equivalent to the preinjury wage because of a compensable injury. Section 401.011(16). In Appeals Panel Decision (APD) 002599, decided December 13, 2000, the Appeals Panel noted that disability is an economic concept and that if an injured employee becomes incarcerated the actual loss of wages is attributable to such incarceration, which is the reason for the inability to obtain and retain employment rather than the compensable injury. See also APD 033309, decided February 10, 2004, and APD 012152, decided October 15, 2001. Whether the claimant had disability, and if so for what period, was a question of fact for the hearing officer to resolve. The evidence supports the hearing officer’s determination that the claimant had disability for most of the period beginning October 3, 2008, and continuing through the date of the CCH. However, the claimant testified that he was incarcerated from August 4 through August 16, 2009, and conceded that he did not have disability for that period. In view of the evidence and the applicable law, we reverse the hearing officer’s disability determination relative to the period of incarceration and render a new decision that the claimant had disability from October 3, 2008, through August 3, 2009, and from August 17, 2009, through the date of the CCH and the claimant did not have disability from August 4 through August 16, 2009.
The true corporate name of the insurance carrier is TEXAS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY and the name and address of its registered agent for service of process is
RON O. WRIGHT, PRESIDENT
6210 EAST HIGHWAY 290
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78723.
Margaret L. Turner
Thomas A. Knapp
Veronica L. Ruberto