For the prosecutor, Walter X. Trumbull.
For the respondent, Hans M. K. Hansen (Russell Fleming, of counsel).
Before Justices Bodine, Perskie and Porter.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
PERSKIE, J. This is a workmen's compensation case. The basic question is whether the employee was improperly awarded compensation in excess of the maximum number of weekly payments to which he was entitled. N.J.S.A. 34:15-16 and 34:15-12 (b).
The facts are free from substantial dispute.
On August 1st, 1924, John Petersen, employee, was doing carpenter work, at the rate of $9 a day, for Foundation Co., employer, on the Victory Bridge, located over the Raritan River, between South Amboy and Perth Amboy, New Jersey. While so engaged, he suffered an accident which concededly arose out of and in the course of his employment. He was struck by a very heavy "concrete bucket" which was used on the job to "fill in casings." The results of the blow were that his right shoulder was injured, one of his ribs was injured, and his left femur was fractured.
Petersen was promptly taken to the Perth Amboy Hospital, where he remained a few days short of two years. While there, he was obliged to and did undergo several operations. From the Perth Amboy Hospital he went to other hospitals in our state and in New York, where he continued to undergo many more operations. Between the day of the accident (August 1st, 1924) and the day (August 9th, 1940) when further treatment was denied to him, he had undergone, in all, twenty-one operations. Osteomyelitis had set in and despite all surgery and medical treatment, and other care, it steadily became worse. Consequently, at the time of the last hearing in the Bureau, on December 12th, 1940, the wound was still draining.
Without attempting minutely to describe the nature of the operations or the resultant disabilities flowing therefrom, it will suffice if we mark the facts that the employee was not able to work, and he has lost some thirty pounds. As the result of the absorption of pus, his kidneys and his "arterial system" have become affected, and other portions of his body have broken down. Perhaps his condition can best be summarized by quoting the concluding sentence of one physician's
testimony, with which all other physicians substantially concur, namely, "As a result [of his chronic infection] he shows cardiac involvement, arterial involvement with a high blood pressure, he shows degenerative disease of the kidneys and is without question totally disabled. The osteomyelitis still carries on."
It is conceded that at the time of final hearing (December 12th, 1940) the employee had received compensation for 300 weeks for temporary disability (N.J.S.A. 34:15-12 (a)) and compensation for 105 weeks for permanent disability for "60% loss of the left leg." The ...