Claimant suffered a coronary occlusion and as a result was totally disabled, being unable to speak coherently or to understand what was said to him. The State Industrial Board found that the claimant's total disability was the result of accidental injuries which arose out of and in the course of his employment. An award was made. The claimant was incapable of giving testimony and no witness was produced who saw the accident. The referee who heard the claim admitted hearsay testimony to the effect that claimant complained of a heartburn to fellow employees after having lifted and emptied a boiler of water. This was corroborated to a certain extent by the testimony of a fellow employee who saw claimant in pain and administered medicine to him, after claimant had indicated his suffering was caused by having lifted something. Other hearsay evidence, statements of claimant to his wife upon arriving home from work, was also admitted. On appeal, the question was whether, under the workmen's compensation law, such hearsay testimony might be accepted as sufficient to establish the accident and the injury. Held, that while the Industrial Board's inquiry in a workmen's compensation proceeding is not limited by common-law or statutory rules of evidence and it may accept hearsay testimony as to claimant's declarations, an award cannot be made based solely upon hearsay testimony inasmuch as there must be a residuum of legal evidence supporting the claim before compensation can be awarded; award affirmed since established facts and circumstances supported hearsay testimony. Altschuller v. Bressler, 289 N. Y. 463, 46 N. E. (2d) 886 (1943).
Mary J. Morris,
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - EXTENT TO WHICH HEARSAY EVIDENCE MAY CONSTITUTE BASIS FOR AWARD BY WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION COMMISSION,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol42/iss1/9