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申請人工作期間中風,法庭裁定中風不是由工作中的意外...

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發表於 2022-9-20 16:35:25 | 顯示全部樓層 |閱讀模式
申請人工作期間中風,法庭裁定中風不是由工作中的意外所引致,申請人申索僱員補償敗訴

https://legalref.judiciary.hk/lrs/common/search/search_result_detail_frame.jsp?DIS=147099&QS=%2B%7C%28DCEC2565%2F2018%29&TP=JU

DCEC 2565/2018
[2022] HKDC 902
香港特別行政區
區域法院
僱員補償案件2018年第2565號
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與此宗申請案有關的各方為
申請人
馮应培

第一答辯人
CHINA STATE – SHUI ON JOINT VENTURE
第二答辯人
裕安机电工程有限公司
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主審法官:區域法院暫委法官李慕潔法庭聆訊
聆訊日期:2022年8月10日及11日
判案書日期:2022年9月8日
--------------------------
判案書
--------------------------

背景
1.  申請人沒有法律代表。他聲稱在2017年5月31日在九龍兒童醫院地盤工作時發生意外而申請賠償。根據申請人的申請書:
“在2017 年5 月31 日,在九龍兒童醫院B1 地牢如常工作。在執拾工具時,不小心踏到地上一條碎喉,因此失重心撞到頭部,頓感滿天星斗,嗅到一些糞味就嘔吐,感覺十分難受。公司人員阻止我叫救護車,罔顧我性命安危,拖延救援時間引致我中風。”
2.  申請人是第二答辯人的員工。
3.  第一答辯人是在聲稱發生意外的地點[“該地盤”]的總承判商。
4.  第二答辯人是該地盤的其中一名分判商。
5.  本案的僱傭關係沒有爭議。答辯人一方亦不爭議申請人在聲稱意外當日中風。
相關法例及法律原則
6.  僱員補償條例第282章第5條訂明:
“5. 僱主就意外引致僱員死亡或喪失工作能力而支付補償的法律責任:-
(1) 除第(2)及(3)款另有規定外,不論受僱於任何工作的僱員,如在受僱工作期間因工遭遇意外以致身體受傷,其僱主須負有按照本條例支付補償的法律責任。
(2) …
(3)
(4) 為施行本條例 ——
(a) 僱員在受僱工作期間遭遇的意外,如無相反證據,須當作亦是因工遭遇的意外
7.  僱員要證明意外的發生,而且意外是引致他身體受傷,才可要求僱主負上支付補償的法律責任。第5(4)(a)條假設若僱員是在工作期間遇到意外,該意外會被視為因工遭遇的意外。但這是可推翻的假設。
“意外以致身體受傷”
8.  答辯人代表大律師引述了不同年代有關工作期間僱員遇上中風或血管爆裂與法例第五條的應用的案例。
9.  在工作時中風並不等於中風是由工作時的意外所引致。在Ma Kam Sing v. Lau Sui Keung trading as Lai Ching Lighting & Electrical Co.﹝unreported,DCEC 1022/2010,27 September 2012﹞一案,法庭有以下裁定:
“34. Mr Ma told the two medical experts when they examined him on 20 October 2011 that he had recovered only 60% of his memory since the stroke. In the opinion of Drs Chao and Fong ‘closed head injuries rarely caused an infarct, as opposed to haemorrhage ….. Here a blood vessel was blocked, a process that takes time (years) to develop’.
35. The lack of head or scalp wound showed that it is unlikely Mr Ma was struck on the head by falling goods that caused the stroke. As Drs Chao and Fong stated, closed head injuries rarely cause an infarct. They considered Mr Ma’s stroke was a coincidence. I assume that means it coincided with Mr Ma’s going up the stairs to the store. And as neither Mr Lee nor Miss Wong found any goods scattered on the floor, it is unlikely Mr Ma was hit by falling goods and that it had caused the stroke.
36. As to whether Mr Ma’s stroke was caused by the strenuous work he was performing prior to his return to the shop, Mr Lee’s evidence was, he being a younger man had volunteered to carry the washing machine up to the 3rd or 4th floor premises and it was his first day of work at the shop. He also said Mr Ma was sweating profusely and had taken the bus back to the shop while he walked and pushed the trolley along on his way back. This indicated Mr Ma was not performing the more strenuous duty on the delivery job before he suffered a stroke on 31 August 2008.
37. On the aforesaid basis, I am satisfied Mr Ma suffered a stroke while at work but it did not arise out of his employment. I accept there was clear evidence showing the accident did not arise out of the employment. Rogers VP in Wong Yuet Yung v Wah Fung Hong Gas Engineering Co Ltd CACV 33 of 2007 (judgment date 19 February 2008) at para 9 held:
“9. In my view the judge correctly construed this subsection. In doing so he had reference amongst other things to the decision of Regina v National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Commissioner ex parte Richardson [1958] 1 WLR 851. In the course of his judgment Lord Goddard CJ pointed out that the words of the section, (the same as the present section) were “in the absence of evidence to the contrary” and not “in the absence of proof to the contrary” or “unless the contrary is proved”. He construed the section to mean no more than that if there was evidence that the accident did not arise out of the employment then no presumption arose at all.”
38. “5(4) For the purposes of this Ordinance –
(a) an accident arising in the course of an employee’s employment shall be deemed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, also to have arisen out of that employment;”
Applying the Court of Appeal’s interpretation of s 5(4)(a) of the Ordinance, I am satisfied that the evidence clearly showed Mr Ma suffered a stroke in the course of employment, but it did not arise out of the employment.
39. It was the evidence of the respondent and his witnesses that Mr Ma was a heavy smoker and was over-weight. Mr Ma himself admitted he weighed over 200 lbs at the time, and he lost 30 lbs after the stroke. In the medical experts’ opinion, the stroke was a coincidence as his blood vessels have been blocked over time, they were not able to establish a casual effect between the incident and his stroke (pp 92-93 of the bundle). The ischaemic infarct was in the deep part of his brain and not associated with any bleeding under the skull from a head injury. The overall medical evidence from the Caritas Medical Centre and the two medical experts is Mr Ma did not suffer any head injury when he was found lying on the floor. That Mr Ma collapsed on the floor of the shop because of the stroke and the sudden onset of the right side weakness of the body and hemiplegia. The A&E department found Mr Ma had no external wound but his blood pressure was alarmingly high at 216/102. It remained high after his admission to the medical ward at 220/90 until seven days later after medical intervention at 160/70.
40. The joint medical experts concluded that Mr Ma “had almost certainly suffered from uncontrolled blood pressure for some time. This is supported by the fact that his blood pressure remained high for a number of days after his admission”.
41. The applicant’s counsel, Ms Wong, submitted the burden of proof is on the respondent that the stroke was not caused by the heavy labour work performed by Mr Ma did not trigger the onset of the stroke. Mr Hung, counsel for the respondent, disagreed. He relied on the dictum of Yuen JA in the Court of Appeal case of Sit Wing Yi Sibley v Berton Industrial Ltd [2011] 4 HKLRD 91, at para 41 she held:
“It seems to me that argument elides the concepts of “injury” in the phrase “injury by accident”. The unexpected nature of the “injury” itself does not constitute the act or event or occurrence of a mishap which is the “accident”. An applicant for compensation must show that there has been an accident that produced the injury (see Fife Coal Co Ltd v Young [1940] AC 479, 486 and Fenton v J Thorley & Co Ltd [1903] AC 443, 453: “an unintended and unexpected occurrence which produces “hurt or loss”) (p 107).”
42. Yuen JA further held at para 45:
The burden of proving “injury by accident” was on the applicant …..”
The aforesaid paragraphs 41 and 45 was said with reference to s 5 of the Ordinance.
43. I conclude from the evidence that the stroke was not caused by falling rice cookers hitting the head of Mr Ma because there were no rice cookers scattered on the floor where Mr Ma was found lying and the Caritas doctors found no external head wounds on Mr Ma at the time of his admission to Caritas Medical Centre. The two experts stated that an object scraping his head could not have caused the ischaemic infarct deep inside the brain. Mr Ma’s duties that afternoon was far from strenuous, he was assisted by a new delivery worker on the delivery, Mr Lee, who had carried the washing machine up 3 flights of stairs and they had used a trolley to push the washing machine to the neighbourhood, this was not disputed by Mr Ma. Therefore, the work Mr Ma performed before the onset of the stroke was not caused by strenuous or heavy work.
44. I rely on the principle laid down by Aikens LJ in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v James Scullion [2010] EWCA Cir 310 at para 49:
“judges of the highest authority had insisted on the distinction between the ‘accident’, which must be external, and the resulting ‘injury’ to the claimant, whether the type of personal injury suffered by the claimant was of an expected type or an unexpected type …..”
45. Applying the afore-mentioned principle to the present case, I am not satisfied the applicant has successfully shown the onset of the stroke he suffered was caused by the strenuous and heavy duty imposed on him by his employment.”
10.  申請人要證明“意外以致身體受傷”,而“意外”與“受傷”是兩個元素,申請人是需要證明這兩個元素的因果關係。
11.  香港終審法院於Sit Wing Yi Sibly v. Berton Industrial Ltd (2013) 16 HKCFAR 104一案作出了詳細解釋:
Injury by accident
17. We were asked to reverse the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the widow’s appeal to them against the District Court’s dismissal of her claim. The human sympathy due to the deceased’s family is obvious. But as a matter of law, the claim was met by an insuperable difficulty due to the fact that the cause of the deceased’s death is unknown. The expression “injury by accident” plainly encompasses cause and effect, with accident as the cause and injury as the effect. Without a known cause of death, the injury can hardly be found to be an injury by accident. Contending for a concept of accident and injury as one and the same event is to say that cause and effect can be one and the same thing. Axiomatically they cannot. In the course of his skilful agreement that they can be one and the same thing, Mr Denis Chang SC for the widow has sought to place reliance on a number of judicial statements made in cases where the employee had a pre-existing medical condition. But Mr Chang could point to only one claim which succeeded otherwise than on the basis that the work was at least a contributory cause of the injury.
18. That one case is Pang Chew Kim v. Wartsila Singapore Pte Ltd [2012] 1 SLR 15 decided by Tay Yong Kwang J in the High Court of Singapore. In that case the employee died of cardiac arrest, and there was no evidence that any work caused or contributed to that. Nevertheless Tay Yong Kwang J held that employees’ compensation was payable. In so holding the learned judge was following what he understood to be the view of the law taken by Sundaresh Menon JC in an earlier case decided by the High Court of Singapore, namely NTUC Income Insurance Cooperative Ltd v. Next of kin of Narayasamy, deceased [2006] 4 SLR 507.
19. In Narayasamy’s case the learned judicial commissioner said (at para. 24) that the word “accident” included “an internal medical condition that caused an unexpected injury while the workman was carrying out his work”. But he said that immediately after quoting (in para. 23) a passage from the speech of Lord Loreburn LC in Clover, Clayton & Co. Ltd v Hughes [1910] AC 242 at pp 245-246 (erroneously naming instead Fenton v Thorley & Co, Ltd [1903] AC 443). And that passage ends with the examples of the straining of a muscle by lifting a weight or the breaking a blood vessel while tightening a nut with a spanner. Clearly that was directed to the work being at least a contributory cause of the injury. And in Narayasamy’s case, as can be seen from concluding paragraph of Sundaresh Menon JC’s judgment, there was evidence that the heart attack from which the employee died was “triggered by his exertions at work”. That was the basis of the learned judicial commissioner’s decision that employees’ compensation was payable, he having said this earlier (at para. 46) in his judgment:
“It does not matter whether that which was done entailed a level of exertion that was beyond that to which the workman was accustomed. It also does not matter that the workman had a preexisting medical condition such that the injury could have happened at any time, even in his sleep. What is material is that something in fact transpired in the course of his work which made the injury occur when it did.”
20. Pang’s case does not achieve for Mr Chang what he sought to get from it.
21. It is undoubtedly the law that the accident must be distinct from the injury, with the accident being at least a contributory cause and the injury being the effect.”
12.  “意外”和“受傷”兩者不能混為一談。“意外”是有別於“受傷”,“意外”是原因,而“受傷”是結果。
13.  終審法院上述的法律觀點被法庭多次引用。
14.  法庭在羅炳炎 v. 六福集團有限公司 [2021] HKDC 7,14 January 2021指出:
“70. 在 Sit Wing Yi Sibly v Berton Industrial Ltd一案中,終審法院裁定5(1)條內所指的「遭遇意外以致身體受傷」的規定有因果關係。然而,意外是獨立於受傷;意外是成因(換言之意外至少是促成原因之一),而受傷則為其結果。在同一案中,上訴法庭採納英國上議院在 Fenton v J Thornley & Co Ltd案件中,就「意外以致受傷」一詞的解釋,裁定第5(1)條內所指的「意外」是指一宗非意料中,突如其來的不幸事件。
71. 假若僱員自身的疾病是「受傷」的原因,按Clover, Clayton & Co Limited v Hughes案例指出,法庭應考慮,僱員的「受傷」是純因為疾病引致,或是疾病及僱傭一起引致。Lord Loreburn首先在該案中第245頁說道:—
“…It seems to me enough if it appears that the employment is one of the contributing causes without which the accident which actually happened would not have happened, and if the accident is one of the contributing causes without which the injury which actually followed would not have followed…””
15.  區域法院新近的案例Chow Kai Yan by Man Wai Tong, his next friend v. Kingsway Cars T Service Ltd [2022] 3 HKC 690有非常仔細的分析:
“46. With my greatest respect, it appears to me that the learned Judge’s approach cannot sit well with the recent authorities such as Chief Adjudication officer v Faulds [2000] 1 WLR 1035, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v James Scullion [2010] EWCA Civ 310, and also the decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal in Sit Wing Yi Sibly v Berton Industrial Ltd, all of which emphasized the distinction between accident and injury. It also appears to me that Chief Adjudication officer v Faulds [2000] 1 WLR 1035, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v James Scullion [2010] EWCA Civ 310 were not cited to the learned Judge. I therefore will not apply Yu Po Ching v China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) Ltd and Kwong Hing Marble Work Company DCEC 1673/2013 (unreported, 13 February 2017).
47. After the review of the above authorities, I consider the proper approach in finding “injury by accident” under the ECO is as follows.
48. Despite Mr Shum’s able arguments, I agree with Mr Szeto that the Applicant’s case and approach (ie the accident in the present case is the cerebral stroke on 25 February 2017) is not consistent with the recent authorities, such as Chief Adjudication officer v Faulds [2000] 1 WLR 1035 and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v James Scullion [2010] EWCA Civ 310. In these cases, the House of Lords and the English Court of Appeal approved Lord Diplock’s formulation of “accident”, namely there must be something “external which has some physiological or psychological effect upon that part of the sufferer's anatomy which sustains the actual trauma, or some bodily activity of the sufferer which would be perceptible to an observer if one were present when it occurred”. The Applicant’s cerebral stroke on 25 February 2017 (which resulted in the loss of consciousness of the Applicant) is something internal and therefore cannot constitute an “accident”.
49. While the Applicant’s contention may have its root from authorities like Fenton v J Thorley & Co Ltd and Clover, Clayton & Co Ltd v Hughes [1920] AC 242, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal in Sit Wing Yi Sibly v Berton Industrial Ltd have considered these authorities as well as the more recent ones. Both decisions emphasised the distinction between accident and injury and the need to identify and prove a specific “accident”. They are consistent with Chief Adjudication officer v Faulds [2000] 1 WLR 1035 and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v James Scullion [2010] EWCA Civ 310.
50. In my view, an applicant under section 5 of the ECO is required to, first of all, identify an event or a series of events which constitute the “accident”, which must be something “external which has some physiological or psychological effect upon that part of the sufferer's anatomy which sustains the actual trauma, or some bodily activity of the sufferer which would be perceptible to an observer if one were present when it occurred”.
51. Secondly, the applicant must show that the “accident” caused or contributed to the injury.”
16.  簡單來說,“意外”是一些“外在”因素﹝而非申請人本身的疾病﹞,而那些“外在”因素造成了申請人身心創傷。
17.  申請人需要證明他的中風是因意外導致,而非完全由他本身的疾病引致。
本案證供
證人
18.  申請人本人是他唯一的事實證人。
19.  答辯人傳召兩名事實證人出庭作證:劉偉樑先生﹝第一答辯人的科文﹞及梁全安先生﹝第二答辯人的行政經理﹞。
20.  根據區域法院廖文健法官於2021 年11 月12 日的命令,雙方獲准援引雙方單一共聘的腦神經外科專家胡健維醫生的專家報告作為專家證供﹝撰寫日期為2021年9月14日﹞,而胡醫生無需出庭作證。
事實證人
申請人
21.  據申請人的開案陳詞,他的兩份證人口供及庭上所述,他在2017年5月31日工作期間,不小心踏到地上一條碎喉,因而頭部撞到疊在卡板上的英泥﹝約1.5米高﹞,感到滿天星斗,接着嗅到一些糞味,然後嘔吐。他要求僱主立刻叫救護車,但被阻止,僱主選擇用車送他到醫院,以致他不能在“黃金3小時”內接受治療,引致他中風。
22.  申請人提出他中風的原因是:
(1) 工作時踏到碎喉而頭部撞到卡板上的英泥。
(2) 接受治療的延誤。
答辯人
劉先生
23.  科文劉先生的證人陳述書指他於聲稱意外當日值班時得知申請人在該地盤地庫層感覺不適。劉先生於是到場了解情況。
24.  申請人指現場地面不平及有積水,而且那些英泥妨礙他工作。劉先生則稱他沒有看到什麼意外發生的跡象。現場照明正常、地面平坦、通道及堆放物料的地面沒有任何散料,沒有物料被撞散撞跌的情況。
25.  劉先生在盤問下確認在場有疊在卡板上的英泥,但否認該些英泥妨礙申請人的工作。而且,申請人沒有向他提出要移動英泥讓他工作。這點申請人亦同意他沒有作出投訴。
梁先生
26.  梁先生的證供是關於申請人的收入。他們在這議題上基本上沒有爭議。
醫學證據
專家報告
27.  在考慮胡醫生的專家報告前,本席首先要處理申請人對胡醫生的指控 / 投訴。
28.  胡醫生是雙方共同聘任的腦神經外科專家。申請人並不質疑胡醫生的專家身份,但是認為他維護答辯人律師樓的利益。
29.  申請人的說法是,胡醫生向他表示,他“都要”顧及﹝代表答辯人﹞律師樓的利益。
30.  本席認為,就算胡醫生真的有向被告人說出上述的話,這並不代表胡醫生是“完全”或“只是”維護答辯人律師的利益,而完全漠視申請人的利益。
31.  如杜大律師所指,本席亦十分認同,胡醫生行醫已久,而且作為法庭專家證人多年,他的專業意見亦都多次為法庭接納。胡醫生清楚理解他作為專家證人的責任,並在其報告的聲明簽署,表示理解他作為專家證人的行為守則Code of Conduct。
32.  再者,申請人對法庭表示他在收到胡醫生的報告的一個月內,即2021年10月左右,他的女兒及朋友分別向他解釋其內容,他當時已經知道胡醫生的意見跟他自己所認為的事情並不吻合。
33.  在2021年10月之後,申請人多次到法庭聆訊,但是他卻從沒有向任何一位法官提出他對胡醫生的指控或表示不同意胡醫生的見解。
34.  特別是申請人未有在區域法院法官廖文健或梁國安席前作出任何投訴,反為同意採納胡醫生的專家報告為援引證據,亦無需胡醫生出庭作證。
35.  當被問及原告人為何沒有對胡醫生作出投訴,申請人亦只回答他有嘗試打電話給胡醫生,但因未有找到胡醫生便不再作出任何行動。一直到2022 年7 月尾,即申請人需呈交開案陳詞當日,申請人提出中風“黃金三小時”的治療時間,但未有提及其與胡醫生的對話或任何的投訴。
36.  在考慮了所有的證據及文件,本席認為申請人對胡醫生的指控 / 投訴沒有任何實質。本席並不認為胡醫生作為雙方共同聘請的專家對答辯人一方﹝或任何一方﹞有所偏����而影響其專業意見。
37.  本席在沒有任何相反的證據下﹝事實上及醫學上﹞,完全接受及採納胡醫生的專家報告內容。
胡醫生的專家報告
38.  胡醫生在其報告中指:
“6.1 The accident of 31st May 2017
Mr. Fung relates that he fell face down onto a pile of cement but he had no superficial bleeding or loss of consciousness. There was no post-traumatic amnesia. There was no radiological evidence of any skull fracture or parenchymal brain damage.
Taking the above into consideration, he had at most a superficial scalp injury. There was no brain injury or concussion.
6.2 The stroke of 31st May 2017
He also had an ischemic stroke on 31st May 2017. The doctors related that he commenced with vomiting at 1500 hours and he was treated with thrombolytic medications at 1708 hours.
This stroke is a spontaneously-occurring event with no causal relationship with his fall. However, it is conceivable that his slip and fall (at around 1:30 pm) might have been the first sign of his stroke (he was unsteady as a result of the stroke and fell).
…….
6.9 Pre-existing medical disease
His pre-existing hypertension and hyperlipidemia predispose him to his stroke.
There is no pre-existing medical illness which can account for his superficial scalp injury.
6.10 Contentious issues
……
He did not have any intracranial hemorrhage. Even if he had a fall with a head injury, the fall could not possibly be the cause of his ischemic stroke.”
39.  根據胡醫生的專家報告,申請人沒有流血或失去知覺,頭骨及腦部薄壁沒有損傷。他的傷勢最多只有表面頭皮受傷,並沒有任何腦部受傷或腦震盪。
40.  胡醫生指在2017年5月31日申請人是缺血性中風,他的中風為一個自發性的事件,與申請人聲稱的跌倒無任何因果關係。反之,申請人聲稱的跌倒其實可能是申請人中風後的第一個跡象,他因中風導致其不平衡及跌倒。
41.  胡醫生的結論是申請人本身有高血壓及高血脂症,令他有中風的傾向。申請人沒有顱內出血,就算他真的是跌倒撞到頭部,這並不可能引發缺血性中風。
其他證據
42.  根據表格7,僱員補償﹝普通評估﹞委員會的數名醫生﹝“委員會”﹞評定申請人的傷勢為急性缺血性中風。
43.  委員會評定申請人“沒有”於任何時間因受傷而須缺勤。同時,委員會於“由於受傷而引致永久喪失賺取收入能力”一欄評定為“不適用”。
44.  在備註一欄中列出:“本委員會認為基於現有的醫學證據,此個案的中風傷患可能並非因工受傷或例須補償職業病而致”。
45.  申請人沒有就表格7提出上訴。申請人此上訴權利於《僱員補償條例》第282章第18條訂明,亦清楚列明於表格7的下方。
46.  在觀塘社區健康診所2017年1月18日﹝即聲稱意外前的四個月﹞的報告上,申請人的長期病患包括無併發症高血壓病、脂代謝失調及過肥, 醫生記錄這些是需要處理的問題﹝“Active Problem”﹞。
47.  申請人在杜大律師盤問下承認自己有食藥的需要,而且亦同意醫生有向他提及有併發症例如中風或心臟病的風險。
48.  根據申請人的外診紀錄,申請人在2014年10月29日開始直到該聲稱意外發生前亦多次前往聯合醫院及瑪嘉烈醫院求醫。申請人表示是拿取有關高血壓等的藥物。
分析
申請人是否因意外引致中風
49.  胡醫生專家報告第6.2 段指出缺血性中風是自發性的事件,並沒有與申請人聲稱的跌倒有任何因果關係。
50.  代表答辯人的杜大律師向法庭指出:
(1) 在聯合醫院的急症室報告上並沒有提及任何頭部受傷。
(2) 在聯合醫院的急症室紀錄上,申請人並未有任何頭部受傷,其創傷程度亦被評定為“非創傷性”﹝“non-traumatic”﹞。當時,其基本清醒級別﹝“GCS,General Consciousness Level”﹞中的言語程度﹝“V”﹞亦被評為5分,即可與醫生對話。因此,如果申請人有對頭部作出投訴,醫生定必在紀錄上表明。
(3) 申請人於2017 年8 月8 日向勞工處僱員補償科存檔一份聲明書,於意外發生經過一欄並未有提及撞傷頭部,只寫上趴在卡板英泥上面。
(4) 在申請人於2018 年5 月21 日的勞工處口供,第3 段描述該聲稱意外時,申請人描述為“剛好那時候我踏上一些短的燈喉﹝在地面﹞,失去平衡,趴到旁邊的一疊英泥上。企立後,加上嗅到附近的氣味,我就感到不舒服嘔吐,由工友陪伴,走上地面﹝是自行走上去地面﹞,在地盤門口等車,結果有輛七人車,送我去醫院﹝聯合醫院﹞急症室。” 並沒提及撞傷頭部。
(5) 在同一份口供上,當被問及該聲稱意外發生當日身體有什麼受傷時,其答案是“我身體感到不適嘔吐外,沒有流血,扭傷,骨折撞傷”。
(6) 其後,當被特別問及該聲稱意外當日有否撞到什麼東西而受傷時,申請人答案是沒有。
51.  在考慮了所有醫療報告及記錄,以及申請人在聲稱意外後對勞工處作出的聲明,本席認為,在相對可能性下,申請人事實上沒有因為該聲稱意外而導致任何頭部受傷,更加不是因為頭部受創而中風。
52.  基於以上理由,本席並不接受申請人的證供。胡醫生於專家報告中提及申請人最多可能有頭皮受傷,本席同意杜大律師陳詞此意見只為基於全盤接受申請人對該聲稱意外的描述而作出。若法庭不接納申請人的證供或其對該聲稱意外的描述,法庭亦不應接受申請人有頭皮受傷。而且,申請人的案情由此至終都不是頭皮受傷。
53.  本席裁定申請人並沒有在2017年5月31日因意外﹝即撞傷頭部﹞以致他中風。
治療的延誤
54.  根據聯合醫院急症室的醫療紀錄,申請人的嘔吐是在2017年5月31日下午3點發生,而其在下午3時41分已到急症室,並在下午5時08分接受IV thrombolytic treatment﹝“靜脈溶栓治療”﹞。
55.  根據胡醫生的報告:
“6.10 Contentious issues
There are several contentious issues.
The first centres on a possible causal relationship between his alleged fall (with impact to his head) and his ischemic stroke.
He did not have any intracranial hemorrhage. Even if he had a fall with a head injury, the fall could not possibly be the cause of his ischemic stroke.
The second centres on a possible delay in the management of Mr. Fung’s stroke. Mr. Fung alleged that his supervisor prevented him from summoning the ambulance so that there was a delay in taking him to hospital for treatment.
Mr. Fung had an ischemic stroke and he was treated with thrombolytic (tissue plasminogen activator) therapy at the United Christian Hospital. Such thrombolytic treatment is effective if used within the first 4 and a half hours of the onset of an ischemic stroke. Given that Mr. Fung’s stroke commenced at 1500 hours (he presented with vomiting) and the thrombolytic therapy was commenced at 1708 hours, his treatment fell within the therapeutic time-window, i.e. there was no actual delay. Moreover, Mr. Fung had only a very mild stroke (his NIHSS score was only 3/42) and he has made a complete recovery. Therefore, there is no delay in his stroke treatment.
The third centres around Mr. Fung’s assertion that, if there was no delay in taking him to hospital for treatment, he would have recovered more rapidly and he would not have to be sidelined for 2 years. His usual contractors would not have refrained from employing him and he would not have to seek for new contractors.
It should be noted that he had only a mild stroke and he had made a complete recovery. It is most probably just the diagnostic label of a “stroke” which precludes his employment. Under such circumstances, whether there was a delay in taking him to hospital or not would not have made any material difference.”
56.  有別於申請人所稱的“黃金3小時”,胡醫生解釋靜脈溶栓治療於中風後4個半小時內接受亦會有效。即使接受申請人的說法,即該聲稱意外於下午1 時15 分出現﹝而非下午3時﹞,當申請人在下午5 時08分接受靜脈溶栓治療時,亦屬於治療有效時間。根據胡醫生的意見,是沒有延誤治療。
57.  而且,申請人在中風後亦完全康復,本席同意答辯人一方指此乃沒有����誤治療的最佳證明。
結論
58.  毫無疑問,申請人在2017年5月31日是在工作期間中風。
59.  法庭要決定是,他的中風是否由工作中的意外所引致。
60.  申請人所指的“意外”,是他踏在碎喉上以致他的頭部撞到卡板上的英泥。
61.  本席考慮了事實證人的證供,申請人的醫療記錄及報告,以及胡醫生的專家報告。本席不接受申請人的說法是因為頭部撞到英泥而引致中風。杜大律師陳詞法庭不須裁定申請人是否誠實可靠的證人。本席亦認同,就算法庭完全接受申請人的説法,本案的醫療記錄及胡醫生的專家報告,已經清楚顯示申請人中風的原因,是自發性事件,與跌倒沒有因果關係。如胡醫生所說,申請人是因為中風而跌倒。
62.  就延誤方面,根據聯合醫院急症室的醫療紀錄以及胡醫生的專家報告,本席認為申請人在該聲稱意外四個半小時內接受了靜脈溶栓治療,所以沒有延誤治療的情況。
63.  事實上,申請人多次在庭上表示他在“意外”前後身體都沒有問題,可以如常工作。他只說因為他曾經中風,正如胡醫生所說,申請人被“標籤”,所以沒有人願意聘用他。
64.  在考慮了所有的證據,本席裁定,在相對可能性下,申請人不能證明他的中風是由意外引致。
65.  申請人的賠償申請被撤銷。
賠償金額
66.  若本席的裁定錯誤,即申請人是因工作時遇到意外以致中風﹝即是因踏在碎喉而失去平衡致頭撞英泥﹞,本席需要考慮申請人可獲得的補償金額。
第9條
67.  申請人說他在中風之後的的工作能力下降20%,亦指他的收入比中風前減少20%。
68.  但實際收入的多少,並不等同“由於受傷而引致永久喪失賺取收入能力”﹝loss of earning capacity permanently caused by the injury﹞或“喪失賺取收入能力”﹝loss of earning capacity﹞。
69.  申請人亦表示他仍可以做中風前的工作,只是沒有人願意聘請他,因為他被標籤曾經中風。
70.  在胡醫生的專家報告中,無論是中風還是表面頭皮受傷,胡醫生均認為申請人沒有永久喪失賺取收入能力:
“6.3 Residual disability
Mr. Fung now complains of impaired memory and tingling over the right shoulder/elbow but his neurological examination is normal. There is no cognitive, vestibular or physical deficit.
There is no residual neurological disability or impairment of the whole person as a result of his superficial scalp injury or of his stroke.
6.6 Employment potential
From the neurological perspective, he should be able to resume his pre-jury occupation as an electrician with no loss of earning capacity. In fact he returned to this job about 2 years after the event of 31st May 2017 and continued for months.
6.7 Duration of sick leave
Most recovery of neurological functions after a superficial scalp injury occurs within the first month of the accident, although some further, minor improvement can continue up to 3 months. Now that more than 4 years have elapsed since the accident, his conditions have stabilized. He has reached maximum medical improvement. Taking into consideration the nature of his injury and the pace of his recovery, the appropriate duration of sick leave in respect of the superficial scalp injury should be 1 month.
Most recovery of neurological functions after an ischemic stroke occurs during the first 3 to 6 months of the ictus, although some further, minor improvement can continue up to 1 year. As more than 4 years have elapsed since the stroke, his neurological conditions have stabilized. He has reached maximum medical improvement. Taking into consideration the nature of the stroke and the pace of his recovery, the appropriate duration of sick leave in respect of the stroke should not exceed 6 months.”
71.  所以就算法庭接受申請人的說法,他亦不能獲得第9條的補償。
第10條
72.  申請人同意他在中風後所獲發出的病假為104天。
73.  至於他的薪金方面,在2017年4月份他的收入為$37,050,而5月份為$56,000。這方面答辯人的梁先生亦同意。這2個月的平均月入為$46,525 [($37,050 + $56,000)/2]。
74.  申請人的申請書說他在關鍵時間的平均月入$45,000。本席認為這是合理的數字,並接受他在關鍵時間的平均月入為$45,000。
75.  若法庭接受申請人是因意外以致中風,第10條的補償為:
$45,000 x 104/30 x 4/5 = $124,800
第10A條
76.  根據答辯人為申請人準備的醫療費用摘要表,申請人的醫療費用最多為$5,248。申請人對此沒有爭議。
77.  在該條例的附表三列明,申請人可獲的醫療費最多為每天$300。在上述醫療費用摘要表:
(1) 於2017年6月7日醫療費用為$540,比法定規限多出$240;
(2) 於2017年6月17日醫療費用為$476,比法定規限多出$176; 及
(3) 於2017年6月22日醫療費用為$468,比法定規限多出$168。
78.  扣除上述多出的醫療費,申請人可獲第10A條的補償為:
$5,248 - $240 - $176 - $168 = $4,664。
補償金額總結
79.  根據條例,申請人可獲的補償金額:
第9條:
第10條:$124,800
第10A條:$4,664
扣除預支款項:($20,000)
_____________
總額:$109,464
========
訟費
80.  由於申請人敗訴,本席命令申請人需要支付第一及第二答辯人的訟費﹝包括大律師證書﹞。訟費如金額不能同意,則由法庭決定。
81.  以上訟費命令為暫準命令,如雙方不在14天內以書面提出反對,該命令會成為正式命令。
82.  本席感謝大律師的協助。


( 李慕潔 )
區域法院暫委法官

申請人:沒有律師代表,並親自應訊
第一及第二答辯人:由華馬黃楊律師行所延聘的杜偉達大律師帶領白鍚晅大律師代表


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