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Vezina v. State Compensation Insurance Fund

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

November 21, 1997

DENNIS VEZINA Petitioner
v.
STATE COMPENSATION INSURANCE FUND Respondent/Insurer for CONCRETE AND EXCAVATION, INCORPORATED Employer.

          Submitted: October 28, 1997

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND JUDGMENT

          MIKE MCCARTER JUDGE.

         Summary: Claimant with history of knee and back work injuries, who worked only two days for employer, filed claim for compensation almost one year after the alleged injury. The employer and insurer disputed the occurrence of the alleged injury, which claimant said happened when he stepped in a pothole and his "leg kinda snapped."

         Held: The Court was not persuaded an injury occurred. The injury was not witnessed and claimant himself was not a credible witness. His testimony was inconsistent and vague. In addition, the following mitigated against the occurrence of an injury: record of medical care indicate that claimant did not report a work injury, but a continuation of earlier problems; on a doctor's form asking for description of how accident occurred, claimant wrote "Wyo," evidently a reference to an earlier injury in Wyoming; claimant had in fact tried to have his medical bills covered under a claim related to the earlier Wyoming injury.

         Topics:

Injury and Accident: Accident. Claimant with history of knee and back work injuries, who worked only two days for employer, filed claim for compensation almost one year after the alleged injury. The Court was not persuaded an injury occurred. The injury was not witnessed and claimant himself was not a credible witness. His testimony was inconsistent and vague. In addition, the following mitigated against the occurrence of an injury: record of medical care indicate that claimant did not report a work injury, but a continuation of earlier problems; on a doctor's form asking for description of how accident occurred, claimant wrote "Wyo," evidently a reference to an earlier injury in Wyoming; claimant had in fact tried to have his medical bills covered under a claim related to the earlier Wyoming injury.

         The trial in this matter was held on October 28, 1997, in Billings, Montana. Petitioner, Dennis Vezina (claimant), was present and represented by Mr. Brad L. Arndorfer. Respondent, State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund), was represented by Mr. Charles G. Adams.

         Exhibits: Exhibits 1 though 19 were admitted into evidence without objection.

         Witnesses: The claimant, Dr. Robert S. Schultz, Robert Dolly and Rick Rigney testified at trial. In addition, the parties submitted the depositions of claimant, Dr. Robert S. Schultz, Rick Rigney and Robert Dolly to the Court for its consideration.

         Issues: This case involves a disputed industrial accident which the claimant alleges occurred at the end of March or early April 1993 while he was employed by Concrete and Excavation, Inc. As phrased by the parties, the following issues are presented:

1.Whether the Petitioner suffered an injury on or around April 7, 199[3].
2.Whether the State Fund is liable for medical benefits related to surgery and other treatment to Petitioner's knee.
3.Whether the Petitioner is entitled to an award of attorney's fees and costs pursuant to ...

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