October 29, 1954 a Manhattan husband and father of two died because of an accident while he was working for a machine company. On that day, the man was walking back toward his company truck that he had parked a few moments before. He had been talking to some of the other employees and was going back to get into his truck. A few minutes after walking away from them, the other workmen heard him fall and turned around to see the employee on the ground with his hands on his head. He was about ten feet from the rear wheel of his truck.
None of the other employees saw what happened before he fell or even how he fell. There was speculation that he had fallen off of his truck, but no one actually saw him fall. The truck had mud on the tires and wheel wells, the fallen employee had no mud on him. The employee had a fracture to his skull and had suffered a stroke before dying. The issue here is which came first. Did he have a stroke and then fall fracturing his skull or did he fall, fracture his skull and the fracture led to the stroke. The only evidence presented at trial of a fall from the truck was on the attending physician report and that doctor stated that he had been told by one of the other employees that the victim had fallen off of the truck.
The company brought forth medical records from 1952 when that particular driver had been rehired by the company. The doctors who had examined him had recommended that he not be rehired because his health was not suitable for the job. The doctor at that time had diagnosed him as overweight, with excessive hypertension, arteriosclerosis and alcoholism. This brings the concern back to the medical report from the date of the Truck accident that lists the cause of the injury as a fall from a truck. The doctor testified that he obtained that information from other employees. Each of the employees that was present on that date has testified and each one stated that they did not tell the Queens doctor that they saw him fall from the truck. In fact, they each stated that he was about ten feet from the truck when he fell and none of them saw him fall.
Based on this information, the Court believes that the employee suffered a stroke and then fell. The earlier decision and award are reversed and the claim is dismissed.
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