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Hintz v. Farmers Cooperative Association

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

February 28, 2017

Ian T. Hintz, appellant,
v.
Farmers Cooperative Association, appellee.

          1. Workers' Compensation: Appeal and Error. A judgment, order, or award of the Workers' Compensation Court may be modified, reversed, or set aside only upon the grounds that (1) the compensation court acted without or in excess of its powers; (2) the judgment, order, or award was procured by fraud; (3) there is not sufficient competent evidence in the record to warrant the making of the order, judgment, or award; or (4) the findings of fact by the compensation court do not support the order or award.

         2. __: __. In determining whether to affirm, modify, reverse, or set aside a judgment of the Workers' Compensation Court, an appellate court reviews the trial judge's findings of fact, which will not be disturbed unless clearly wrong.

         3. __:__. Regarding questions of law, an appellate court in workers' compensation cases is obligated to make its own decisions.

         4. Workers' Compensation: Proof. Under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act, a claimant is entitled to an award for a work-related injury and disability if the claimant shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she sustained an injury and disability proximately caused by an accident which arose out of and in the course of the claimant's employment.

         5. __:__. To recover workers' compensation benefits, an injured worker is required to prove by competent medical testimony a causal connection between the alleged injury, the employment, and the disability.

         6. Trial: Expert Witnesses. The sufficiency of an expert's opinion is judged in the context of the expert's entire statement.

         7. __:__. The value of an expert witness' opinion is no stronger than the facts upon which it is based.

         [24 Neb.App. 562] Appeal from the Workers' Compensation Court: Thomas E. Stine, Judge. Reversed and remanded with directions.

          Thomas R. Lamb and Richard W. Tast, Jr., of Anderson. Creager & Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.

          Jason A. Kidd, of Engles, Ketcham, Olson & Keith, P.C., for appellee.

          Inbody and Pirtle, Judges, and McCormack, Retired Justice.

          McCormack, Retired Justice.

         INTRODUCTION

         Ian T. Hintz appeals from an order of the Workers' Compensation Court denying his claim for workers' compensation benefits from his former employer, Farmers Cooperative Association (Farmers). On appeal, Hintz argues that the compensation court erred in finding that his injuries were not causally related to his work accident. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the decision of the compensation court and remand the cause with directions.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 13, 2014, Hintz was working as a tire technician for Farmers. Hintz' job involved changing and fixing all types of tires. On the morning of November 13, Hintz was working on the repair of a tire for a semitrailer. He had patched a hole in the tire and was attempting to refill the air in the tire when the tire exploded. At the time of the explosion, Hintz was kneeling directly in front of the tire. The force of the explosion threw Hintz approximately 10 feet. He landed on his back, could not feel his legs, had pain in his hips and his groin area, and heard "a ...


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