APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT, INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION DIVISION
507 N.E.2d 1185, 155 Ill. App. 3d 106, 107 Ill. Dec. 816 1987.IL.235
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. John L. Davis, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE KASSERMAN delivered the opinion of the court. BARRY, P.J., and WOODWARD, J., concur. JUSTICE McCULLOUGH, Dissenting. McNAMARA, J., joins in this Dissent.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE KASSERMAN
On May 30, 1980, claimant, John Luckenbill, filed an application for adjustment of claim under the Workers' Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.) (Act) for a back injury which allegedly arose out of and in the course of his employment with respondent, Caterpillar Inc. After a hearing on March 18, 1981, an arbitrator decided that claimant sustained injuries arising out of and in the course of his employment with respondent but that there was no evidence that claimant gave timely notice of an accidental injury to respondent. The arbitrator therefore denied the claimant's claim. A further hearing was held before the Industrial Commission on April 27, 1982. On September 14, 1984, without setting out specific findings, the Industrial Commission determined that claimant failed to prove that he sustained injuries arising out of and in the course of his employment and further that he failed to prove that he gave timely notice of the alleged accident. The circuit court confirmed the decision of the Industrial Commission. The claimant has perfected this appeal. We reverse and remand.
On appeal, claimant urges that the decision of the Industrial Commission is contrary to law and against the manifest weight of the evidence. Claimant also contends, in the alternative, that this cause should be remanded to the Industrial Commission because the Industrial Commission's decision fails to comply with the requirements of section 19(e) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 48, par. 138.19(e)).
At the hearing before the arbitrator, claimant testified that he worked in respondent's material control department, lifting painted parts out of a basket and placing them into tubs. The weight of the parts varied from one to hundreds of pounds, although heavier or bulky parts were lifted by use of a hoist.
Claimant testified that on February 26, 1980, he was working the second shift, 3:18 p.m. to 11:18 p.m. and that at approximately 9:30 p.m., he had been bent over for 10 or 15 minutes lifting parts out of the basket. According to claimant, when he straightened up he felt like he pulled a muscle in his back. He felt a "sharp pull" or a "catch," and after that a dull pain in his lower back. Claimant testified that he told his foreman, Greg Tumiati, and a fellow worker, Terrence Taylor, that he felt as if he had pulled a muscle in his back. However, claimant did not seek first aid.
Claimant testified that he finished the shift at a dumpster where the parts could be unloaded automatically. He stated that he told Tumiati he was going to do that. He finished the shift, went straight home, showered and went to bed. The next morning, he was stiff and in pain, so much so that he could not bend over or move to his side. He stated that his legs also hurt. Claimant went to his father's house and asked his father to make an appointment with the doctor. Claimant testified that Dr. Schrodt could not see him that day, the 27th, but that on the 28th he met the doctor at the emergency room at St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur.
Claimant was admitted to the hospital on February 28, 1980, and had four separate hospital stays: February 28 to March 8; April 7 to April 11; April 13 to April 14; and April 21 to May 3. The medical records from his first stay indicate claimant's complaint to be: "he gradual onset of low back pain while he was working. He did not have a specific injury episode"; and "had a gradual onset of back pain. No traumatic [injury] noted." Dr. Schrodt's diagnosis was "probable herniated disc." The treatment was physical therapy and pelvic traction. Claimant was released March 8 with a guarded prognosis.
On February 28 and 29, 1980, claimant signed two forms on which he answered "No" to the questions: "Was an accident or injury involved?" and "Was an accidental injury involved?"
On April 7, 1980, without having returned to work, claimant was readmitted to the hospital, complaining of pain again in his legs. The nursing admission history notes: "Lifting [at] work -- continued to work that day." A myelography confirmed a herniated disc and spinal stenosis. Claimant was discharged on April 11, and was scheduled to be readmitted for surgery.
On April 13, 1980, claimant was readmitted, but surgery could not be scheduled. The nursing admission history for April 13 notes: "Lifting [at] work 2/26/80 . . .." On April 21, 1980, claimant was readmitted and laminectomies were performed on April 22, 1980. Dr. Schrodt found "obvious marked stenosis of the canal" and "a small disc protrusion." Claimant was released on May 3, 1980, and the discharge order notes a final diagnosis of "spinal stenosis." Claimant returned to work for respondent in October 1981.
Terrence Taylor and Greg Tumiati also testified before the arbitrator. Taylor testified that shortly after a break on February 26 claimant told him that he had hurt his back. When Taylor suggested that claimant seek ...