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Januszewski v. Public Service Coordinated Transport

Decided: October 18, 1951.


On appeal from the Workmen's Compensation Division of the Department of Labor.

Naughright, J.c.c.


[17 NJSuper Page 166] This is a workmen's compensation appeal by Public Service Coordinated Transport from a determination of the Deputy Director awarding compensation to petitioner, Joseph Januszewski. The basic issue presented by the appeal is whether the cerebral hemorrhage and resultant disability suffered by petitioner on October 13, 1948, was the result of a compensable accident within the intendment of

the Workmen's Compensation Act. R.S. 34:15-1 et seq., N.J.S.A.

The facts are as follows: The petitioner is 46 years of age. On October 13, 1948, the date of the alleged accident, and for five years prior thereto he was employed by the respondent-appellant as a bus driver. During this five-year period he worked regularly, losing time from his job on only two occasions -- one because of an attack of flu which kept him out about two weeks and the other because of an eye infection that "troubled" him about a month.

Except for these two instances he had not been troubled by any illness. While he had been rejected for military service because of high blood pressure, he had never been treated for such condition.

On October 13, 1948, petitioner was assigned to operate the No. 60 bus -- a Montclair to Newark run. He had had this run for two months. Petitioner worked the rush hour trip at about 7 A.M. of the morning of October 13, 1948, returned home after the trip and reported for work again at his usual time -- 4:30 P.M. of that same day. He relieved the driver then on duty at Bloomfield Avenue and Elm Street, made his trip to Normal Avenue, Upper Montclair, and then proceeded back on the return trip to Branford Place, Newark.

At the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Clifton Avenue petitioner stopped to pick up three or four passengers. After the passengers had boarded the bus he started to pull away from the curb and across the intersection, as the light was green for traffic on Bloomfield Avenue. It was a busy hour and the area was well travelled. Just as he started up, he said that a little black closed paneled truck came from his left (it was either a Ford or Chevrolet) and shot straight across the intersection in front of his bus at about 40 miles per hour. The truck, coming out of Clifton Avenue, was proceeding against a red light, i.e. , for traffic on Clifton Avenue.

Petitioner stated that he applied his brakes in an effort to slow up and stop. The incident occurred with such suddenness

that petitioner thought there would be a collision. He described his reaction to the "near accident" in the following language:

"As the truck shot in front of me, I shook my head because the first thing I did was I felt like I had a hot flush run right through me and right around me here (indicating the chest and region of the heart). Well, I started to sweat a little bit and I tried to shake this feeling off."

Petitioner, although flustered and nervous and sweating profusely, kept on going in the hope that this feeling would wear off. He stopped his bus at the next corner -- Bloomfield Avenue and Mt. Prospect Avenue -- to pick up some passengers, began to feel faint and dizzy and noticed that he was unable to transfer coins from his right to his left hand.

He continued to drive his bus until he reached the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Park Avenue about two or three blocks from Mt. Prospect Avenue. There he saw a Mr. Murphy, an inspector for the Public Service, to whom he called for assistance. He told Mr. Murphy he was ill. Mr. Murphy then carried him from the bus with the help of three or four other persons and sat him on the steps of a store on Bloomfield Avenue. Petitioner could hear people's voices but could not see them. He wasn't able to move his body normally. The last thing petitioner remembered was that he was put on a stretcher and removed to St. Michael's Hospital.

The testimony of Mr. Murphy, called by respondent-appellant as a witness, seems to bear out the testimony of petitioner as to the series of events that occurred at the corner of Park and Bloomfield Avenues.

Mr. Murphy testified that he saw this No. 60 bus creep through the light at a very slow speed. It had crossed out of its lane into the wrong lane and would have struck nearby cars had it not been for Mr. Murphy's quick action in jumping into the bus and bringing it to a halt. Petitioner was half sprawled across the wheel of the bus when Mr. Murphy entered. He was slumped helplessly over the wheel, could not

speak and was moaning. Mr. Murphy managed to guide the bus away from the parked cars.

A Mr. Paul Benson, called by respondent, testified that he observed the bus which petitioner was driving as he was parked for a red light on the corner of Park Avenue and Bloomfield Avenue. He saw the bus coming from the opposite direction toward him. The bus, proceeding against a red light, crossed out of its lane and was heading toward Mr. Benson's car when it suddenly came to a stop about four or five feet in front of his car. At that point someone got into the bus, Mr. Benson said, and in the attempt to move the bus his car was struck.

Mr. Benson observed that petitioner was in a helpless condition and that his left side appeared limp. It was about five or ten minutes past five when all this happened.

Petitioner remained in the hospital where he was attended to by Dr. Antonious until December 23, 1948. After his discharge from the hospital he returned to the clinic at the hospital about 31 times for treatment. He was also under the care of a physiotherapist who administered treatments to him at petitioner's home for about two months, coming about three times a week. Petitioner also continued to visit Dr. Antonious for medical attention about every three or four months.

All medical bills were paid by petitioner or his sister with one exception. Part of the hospital bill was paid by the New Jersey Hospital Plan. Except for sick benefits totalling $540 petitioner had not received compensation from respondent-appellant.

Petitioner has been unable to do any work and the entire left side of his body is paralyzed. He can only walk with the aid of a cane.

The record of St. Michael's Hospital was marked in evidence with the consent of respondent-appellant. It indicates that petitioner was admitted on October 13, 1948, and discharged on December 23, 1948. It further indicates that petitioner was unable to move his extremities and showed a

typical left hemiplegia with slurring and indistinct speech. The diagnosis was cerebral hemorrhage and ...

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