Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District; heard
in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon
County, the Hon. Jerry S. Rhodes, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE RYAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The claimant, Donald D. Werries, filed an application for adjustment of claim under the Workers' Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.) for injuries allegedly sustained while he was employed by R.T. Atkinson Electronic Company (Atkinson). An arbitrator found that the claimant had failed to prove that he sustained accidental injuries arising out of and in the course of his employment by Atkinson and denied his claim for compensation. The Industrial Commission affirmed the arbitrator's decision. The claimant sought review in the circuit court of Sangamon County, which confirmed the decision of the Industrial Commission. The Industrial Commission division of the appellate court, with two justices dissenting, affirmed the judgment of the circuit court (136 Ill. App.3d 731) and supplied the required statement that the case presented a substantial question which warranted consideration by this court. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 315 (94 Ill.2d R. 315(a)), we granted the claimant leave to appeal.
The claimant was the only witness to testify in the hearing before the arbitrator. He related that on January 23, 1979, while employed as a construction electrician by Atkinson, he slipped, fell off a semitrailer, and landed on his left hip. The claimant estimated that he fell approximately 5 feet. He testified that he experienced pain in his left hip, back, and shoulder. According to the claimant, he reported this incident immediately to his general foreman, Robert Beasely, who was present at the time of the occurrence. The claimant indicated that he first sought medical attention the next morning when he consulted a physician, Dr. Ernest C. Bones. The claimant stated that he was also treated by chiropractors, Dr. Arthur K. Beams, Dr. R.J. Partain, and Dr. Dennis Doyle, and by orthopedist Dr. David W. Mack. Various medical reports were presented to the arbitrator which revealed that the claimant was treated with muscle relaxants, physical therapy, and medication. A number of these reports made reference to the alleged work-related injury.
The arbitrator denied compensation benefits, finding that the claimant had failed to prove that an accident occurred which arose out of and in the course of his employment by Atkinson. The arbitrator specifically noted that there were "no records in evidence showing any medical or chiropractic treatment to [Mr. Werries] from the alleged date of accident until June 29, 1979."
The claimant petitioned the Industrial Commission for review of the arbitrator's decision. In his petition, the claimant indicated his intention to introduce additional evidence before the Industrial Commission. At the hearing before the Commission, the claimant sought to introduce the testimony of Robert Beasely and the medical records of Dr. Arthur K. Beams. The commissioner, however, sustained Atkinson's objection to the introduction of this additional evidence before the Commission on the grounds that both Beasely's testimony and Dr. Beams' medical records were available to the claimant at the hearing before the arbitrator. The claimant then made an offer of proof that Mr. Beasely would testify that he was present and in charge of the job as general foreman on January 23, 1979, that he heard some commotion and saw the claimant being helped from the ground, that it was an icy day, that the ground was frozen, and that he permitted the claimant to leave work to see a doctor. Beasely would further testify that on the same day he made a report of the occurrence and sent it to Atkinson. The claimant also made an offer of proof that Dr. Beams' medical records would show that he treated the claimant on January 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, and February 2, 1979.
The claimant sought review in the circuit court of Sangamon County by writ of certiorari. The circuit court confirmed the decision of the Industrial Commission. The appellate court, with two justices dissenting, affirmed the judgment of the circuit court. Relying on Industrial Commission Rule 4-(4)(B)(3), which states that "[e]vidence may be adduced on review if the evidence * * * was not introduced at the arbitration hearing for good cause," the appellate court concluded that the record failed to establish good cause for not introducing Mr. Beasely's testimony and the records of Dr. Beams at the arbitration hearing. 136 Ill. App.3d 731, 736.
The sole issue raised by the claimant in this court is whether the Industrial Commission erred in not allowing the claimant to present additional evidence at the hearing on review. No question has been raised either in the lower courts or this court concerning whether the finding of the arbitrator that the claimant failed to prove an accidental injury arising out of and in the course of his employment by Atkinson is against the manifest weight of the evidence.
It is undisputed that "[t]he jurisdiction of the [Industrial] Commission to review the evidence taken before the arbitrator and to consider any further evidence properly presented to it is original as opposed to appellate jurisdiction. Such a review is neither a trial de novo nor simply a review of the record, but is sui generis." (Emphasis added.) (Gray v. Industrial Com. (1979), 76 Ill.2d 552, 558; Meade v. Industrial Com. (1971), 48 Ill.2d 215, 220-21.) Whether further evidence should be heard by the Industrial Commission, however, is a question within its sound discretion. (Walden v. Industrial Com. (1983), 93 Ill.2d 527, 531-32; Niles Police Department v. Industrial Com. (1981), 83 Ill.2d 528, 536; Wirth v. Industrial Com. (1974), 57 Ill.2d 475, 479; Meade v. Industrial Com. (1971), 48 Ill.2d 215, 221.) Industrial Commission Rule 4-(4) has established guidelines for the exercise of a commissioner's discretion in the matter of admissibility of evidence at the review hearing:
"(B) Limitation of Evidence
Evidence may be adduced on review if the evidence:
(1) relates to the condition of the Petitioner since the time of the arbitration hearing; or
(2) relates to the matters that occurred or conditions that developed after the arbitration hearing; or
(3) was not introduced at the arbitration hearing for good cause." (Emphasis added.) (6 Ill. Admin. Reg. 8040, 8048-49 (July 1, 1982); 50 Ill. ...