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08/11/87 James Hoegger, v. the Industrial Commission

August 11, 1987

JAMES HOEGGER, APPELLANT

v.

THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION ET AL. (INTERLAKE, INC., APPELLEE.)



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

512 N.E.2d 110, 158 Ill. App. 3d 1025, 111 Ill. Dec. 206 1987.IL.1151

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Livingston County; the Hon. Harold Forbish, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. BARRY, P.J., and McCULLOUGH, McNAMARA, and KASSERMAN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOODWARD

Claimant, James Hoegger, appeals from an order of the circuit court of Livingston County confirming the decision of the Industrial Commission denying compensation to the claimant.

At the hearing before the arbitrator, the claimant testified as follows. Claimant was employed by Interlake, Inc. He worked the 4 p.m. to 12 p.m. shift, usually with Rick Smith, another employee. They worked on an automatic beam-welder. Claimant's job required him to take material off as it was welded, stack it on a skid, and load the machine as well. The weight of the beams varied from 8 to 40 pounds. He had worked on that particular type of machine for four years.

On March 4, 1981, he reported for work at 4 p.m. Sometime between 6 p.m. and 12 p.m., his foreman told him to work on another machine stacking columns. While stacking the columns, he pulled a muscle in his back. He first noticed the problem with his back about 11 p.m., but he finished his shift and went home without mentioning the incident to anyone. The next morning when he got up, he had pain in his right leg. He went to see his family doctor, Dr. Deterding, who prescribed pain pills and a hot pad for his back. He also referred claimant to Dr. John Wright. After seeing Dr. Deterding, claimant called his foreman, Michael Lockrin. Lockrin told him to call personnel and let them know that he would not be in to work.

Claimant then saw Dr. Wright, who placed him in St. Joseph's Hospital in Bloomington. On April 3, 1981, he had surgery on his lower back. He did not return to work until November 9, 1981.

Claimant had had some problems with his back in the early 1960s which had required hospitalization but no surgery. He was also treated for back problems in 1966. He had no problems with his back during the 1970s.

On cross-examination, claimant denied that his back hurt when he began work at the new station. He was bending over and reaching for the columns when he hurt his back, but he could not pinpoint what motion caused his injury. He did not report the accident to his foreman or anyone else on March 4, 1981. However, in his telephone conversation with Lockrin the next day, he told him that he had pulled a muscle in his back the previous night at work, and that he had seen a doctor and was told to take off work for a few days. Claimant was not sure whether he told Dr. Deterding that he injured himself at work. He also did not recall telling a doctor at the hospital that he really did not know what he was doing when he developed the pain.

Claimant admitted seeing Dr. Deterding on February 16, 1981, when he was suffering from the flu. He admitted that it was possible that he told the doctor at that time that he had a pain in his chest which radiated into his back.

Claimant also testified that he had a second job, operating his own business as a backhoe operator, in which he did general excavating work. He did very little hand shoveling, but he did do some bending and twisting getting in and out of the cab of the backhoe.

Claimant also admitted that he signed forms requesting group benefits for his injury. In answer to question number five on the forms, "Is claim due to an accident," the box indicating "No" was checked. Claimant ...


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