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Fagan v. City of Atlantic City

Decided: October 21, 1983.

CAROLE RAE FAGAN, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
CITY OF ATLANTIC CITY, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Division of Workers' Compensation.

Michels, King and Edward Gaulkin. The opinion of the court was delivered by King, J.A.D.

King

This appeal from the Division of Workers' Compensation requires us to construe N.J.S.A. 34:15-12 c; L. 1979, c. 283, ยง 5 effective January 10, 1980.

The claim petition in this matter alleged that Carole Rae Fagan was assaulted during the course of her employment on November 12, 1980. The claim petition described the injuries as a "[f]ractured nose; concussion; laceration of upper right lip; damage to trigeminal nerve; lapse of memory; broken glasses; damage to gums; anxiety reaction."

As a result of the assault, petitioner suffered a broken nose, concussion, and laceration of the upper right lip. Petitioner testified that physiologically she continues to experience numbness on the left side of the face extending into the mouth and

upper left gum, a deviation of the nasal septum to the left, interference with breathing, residual surgical scarring on the upper right lip and severe headaches. Petitioner further testified that she continues to experience sleeplessness, nightmares, slight memory loss, and nervous anxiety, manifested by shortness of breath and heart palpatations.

The matter was heard on October 22, 1982. At that time, the parties stipulated the following: that petitioner was in the employ of the City of Atlantic City on November 12, 1980; that the petitioner sustained compensable injuries on that date at or near 225 North Virginia Avenue in the City of Atlantic City; that at the time of the incident petitioner's gross weekly salary was $227.79, giving rise to payment of a temporary disability award of $159.45 a week for the period between November 12, 1980 and January 7, 1981, and that the temporary disability payments were adequate both as to time and amount. The parties agreed that the only issue before the court was the nature and extent of petitioner's permanent disability, if any.

After hearing testimony of petitioner and reviewing the documents submitted in evidence, the judge found that petitioner sustained permanent disability as follows:

7 1/2% permanent partial disability, stemming from petitioner's nasal fracture with a deviated septum to the left;

7 1/2% permanent partial disability, stemming from severe contusions of the skull, lips and mouth, with numbness from the left side of the nose, down the left side of the face into the entire left gum;

15% permanent partial disability, stemming from petitioner's post traumatic psychoneurosis.

Based on the above findings, the judge granted petitioner a partial permanent disability award of 180 weeks at the average rate of ...


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