Appeal No. 2052000 (Claim No. 2017003092)
Reynolds Memorial Hospital, by James W. Heslep, its attorney,
appeals the decision of the West Virginia Workers'
Compensation Board of Review.
issue on appeal is compensability. The claims administrator
rejected the claim on August 4, 2016. The Office of Judges
reversed the decision in its May 16, 2017, Order and held the
claim compensable for right wrist fracture. The Order was
affirmed by the Board of Review on October 24, 2017. The
Court has carefully reviewed the records, written arguments,
and appendices contained in the briefs, and the case is
mature for consideration.
Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record
on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented, and the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of
the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented,
the Court finds no substantial question of law and no
prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision
is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate
Rodriguez, a nursing instructor, fractured her wrist when she
fell while at work on August 2, 2016. A treatment note by
Reynolds Memorial Hospital Emergency Room that day indicates
Ms. Rodriguez was treated for right arm and wrist pain after
a fall that morning. She was diagnosed with closed wrist
scaphoid fracture. The employee's and physician's
report of injury indicates Ms. Rodriguez tripped and fell
while at work that morning. The accident took place at Ohio
Valley Medical Center, not at Reynolds Memorial Hospital. The
diagnosis was listed as right wrist fracture. The
employer's report of injury indicates Ms. Rodriguez
sustained a right wrist fracture due to a slip, trip, or
fall. Medical treatment was provided, and an incident report
Rodriguez testified in a deposition on February 7, 2017, that
she is a nursing instructor and her duties include lecturing
and teaching both in the classroom and on the floor. Most of
her courses are taught at Reynolds Memorial Hospital but two
are taught at Ohio Valley Medical Center. On the day of the
injury, she was at Ohio Valley Medical Center teaching a
class. She was walking down a hallway with some students
toward the pediatric department when she slipped and landed
on her arm. Ms. Rodriguez stated that she was on duty at the
time. Though she could not find what she tripped on, she
asserted that she definitely tripped on something. Ms.
Rodriguez testified that the floor was a flat concrete tiled
floor, and her shoe laces were tied.
claims administrator rejected the claim on August 4, 2016.
The Office of Judges reversed the decision in its May 16,
2017, Order and held the claim compensable for right wrist
fracture. It found that Ms. Rodriguez was acting within the
scope of her employment when she was injured. At the time of
her injury, Ms. Rodriguez was walking with a group of
students from a classroom to the clinical area. The Office of
Judges found that the fact that the injury occurred at a
different facility than Reynolds Memorial Hospital does not
remove Ms. Rodriguez from the scope of her employment as it
was part of her job duties to teach classes at Ohio Valley
Medical Center. Regarding the slip and fall, Ms. Rodriguez
testified that she did not see any wet spots on the floor and
she was wearing her duty shoes, which are supposed to help
prevent slips. The Office of Judges found that the
employer's report of injury states that it had no reason
to question the injury and the physician who completed the
employee's and physician's report of injury found
that the wrist fracture was the result of a work-related
injury. The Office of Judges concluded that Ms.
Rodriguez's testimony that she definitely tripped on
something was credible. The employer's description of the
injury as a fall, slip, or trip was consistent with her
description of the injury. The Office of Judges found that
the employer's allegation that the fall was the result of
clumsiness was not sufficiently supported by the evidence.
Ms. Rodriguez was adamant that clumsiness was not a factor in
her fall and that assertion was supported by her forty-one
years of experience walking hospital halls. Further, Dr.
Richmond's medical opinion that the wrist fracture is the
result of an occupational injury was uncontroverted. The
Board of Review adopted the findings of fact and conclusions
of law of the Office of Judges and affirmed its Order on
October 24, 2017.
review, we agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the
Office of Judges as affirmed by the Board of Review. Ms.
Rodriguez was performing her job duties when she tripped and
fell, fracturing her wrist. The employer's assertion that
the fall was the result of clumsiness is not supported by the
evidentiary record. The injury occurred in the course of and
resulting from Ms. Rodriguez's employment.
foregoing reasons, we find that the decision of the Board of
Review is not in clear violation of any constitutional or
statutory provision, nor is it clearly the result of
erroneous conclusions of law, nor is it based upon a material
misstatement or mischaracterization of the evidentiary
record. Therefore, the decision of the Board of Review is
CONCURRED IN BY: Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman, Justice
Robin J. Davis, Justice Menis E. Ketchum, Justice Allen H.
DISQUALIFIED: Justice Elizabeth D. Walker