Arkansas Workers Compensation Cases Appeal

On appeal in workers' compensation cases, the appellate court views the evidence and all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light most favorable to the Commission's findings, and we will affirm if those findings are supported by substantial evidence. City of Blytheville v. McCormick, 56 Ark. App. 149, 939 S.W.2d 855 (1997); Morelock v. Kearney Co., 48 Ark. App. 227, 894 S.W.2d 603 (1995).

Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. City of Blytheville v. MoCormick, supra; Crossett School Dist. v. Gourley, 50 Ark. App. 1, 899 S.W.2d 482 (1995); College Club Dairy v. Carr, 25 Ark. App. 215, 756 S.W.2d 128 (1988).

The issue on appeal is not whether we might have reached a different result or whether the evidence would have supported a contrary finding; if reasonable minds could reach the Commission's conclusion, we must affirm its decision. City of Blytheville v. McCormick, supra; Bearden Lumber Co. v. Bond, 7 Ark. App. 65, 644 S.W.2d 321 (1983).

Where a claim is denied because the claimant failed to show entitlement to compensation by the preponderance of the evidence, the substantial evidence standard of review requires us to affirm the Commission if its opinion displays a substantial basis for the denial of the relief sought. Jeter v. B.R. McGinty Mechanical, 62 Ark. App. 53, 968 S.W.2d 645 (1998).

The provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act were formerly construed liberally in accordance with the act's remedial purpose; however, Act 796 changed the former practice and mandated that the Commission and the courts construe the provisions strictly. City of Blytheville v. McCormick, supra; Torrey v. City of Fort Smith, 55 Ark. App. 226, 934 S.W.2d 237 (1996).

In interpreting a statute, we construe the words just as they read and give them their ordinary meaning. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. v. Baker, 337 Ark. 94, 989 S.W.2d 151 (1999); Torrey v. City of Fort Smith, supra. the basic rule of statutory construction is to give effect to the intent of the Legislature, making use of common sense. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. v. Baker, supra; Torrey v. City of Fort Smith, supra. Statutes relating to the same subject should be read in a harmonious manner. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. v. Baker, supra; Torrey v. City of Fort Smith, supra.

All legislative acts relating to the same subject are said to be in pari materia and must be construed together and made to stand if they are capable of being reconciled. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. v. Baker, supra.