phone

 

Supreme Court denies claim based on cerebrovascular accident for failure to substantiate work-relation

Philippine Shipping Update – Manning Industry

By:  Ruben Del Rosario, President, Del Rosario Pandiphil Inc., 25 September 2018 (Issue 2018/12)
 
Supreme Court denies claim based on cerebrovascular accident for failure to substantiate work-relation
 
 Seafarer was engaged as Third Mate on-board the vessel after passing his pre-employment medical examination.  While performing his regular tasks, the seafarer felt dizzy and started to feel the left side of his body getting numb. The seafarer’s condition deteriorated and was brought to a hospital where he was confined and was diagnosed to have suffered from cerebrovascular disease: "left cerebellar infarct" and hypertension, Stage 2”.    Subsequently, the seafarer was repatriated and upon arrival, he was immediately brought to the company-designated physician where he underwent CT scans of the head and heart. In his letter addressed to the company, the company-designated physician reported that the result of the CT scan conducted on the seafarer showed, among others, that he has an "old infarct in the left superior aspect of the left cerebellum."  The company-designated doctor also issued an opinion that the illness is not work-related. The seafarer no longer reported back to the company-designated physician.
 
Subsequently, seafarer consulted another physician who diagnosed him to be suffering from Hypertensive Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease and Cerebrovascular Disease which is work-related and was advised to cease from working as a seaman due to his neurologic deficits.  On the basis of the findings of his own doctor, the seafarer filed complaint praying for among others, disability benefits.
 
Both the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC dismissed the claim as the seafarer failed to establish that his illness was work-related or work-aggravated.  In direct contrast, the Court of Appeals granted the claim and awarded disability benefits to the seafarer.
 
When the case reached the Supreme Court, the claim was dismissed.
 
Seafarer failed to establish work-relation of his illness
 
The Court held that for disability to be compensable under the POEA Contract, two elements must concur: (1) the injury or illness must be work-related; and (2) the work-related injury or illness must have existed during the term of the seafarer's employment contract.  To be entitled to compensation and benefits under the POEA Contract, it is not sufficient to establish that the seafarer's illness or injury has rendered him permanently or partially disabled; it must also be shown that there is a causal connection between the seafarer's illness or injury and the work for which he had been contracted.  In other words, while the law recognizes that an illness may be disputably presumed to be work-related, prevailing jurisprudence requires that the seafarer or the claimant must still show a reasonable connection between the nature of work on board the vessel and the illness contracted or aggravated. Thus, the burden is placed upon the claimant to present substantial evidence that his work conditions caused or at least increased the risk of contracting the disease.
 
In this case, the seafarer was unable to present substantial evidence to show that his work conditions caused, or at the least increased the risk of contracting his illness. Neither was he able to prove that his illness was pre-existing and that it was aggravated by the nature of his employment. He also failed to demonstrate that he was subjected to any unusual and extraordinary physical or mental strain or event that may have triggered his stroke.  His claims are mere general statements presented as self-serving allegations which were not validated by any written document or any other evidence visibly demonstrating that the working conditions on board the vessel served to cause or worsen his illnesses.
 
Findings of the seafarer’s doctor not given weight
 
The Court noted that there is no evidence to prove that the findings of seafarer's private physician were reached based on an extensive or comprehensive examination of the seafarer. In the Medical Certificate issued by the seafarer’s doctor, it was only mentioned that the illness was "due to the nature of patient's work and the working conditions/environment on board vessel" and, by reason of which, "patient is no longer advised to work especially as a seaman due to his ... neurologic deficits."
 
Aside from said Medical Certificate, the seafarer failed to present competent evidence to prove that he was thoroughly examined by his own doctor. No proof was shown that laboratory or diagnostic tests nor procedures were taken. In fact, seafarer’s personal doctor did not specify the medications he prescribed and the type of medical management he made to treat the condition. It was also not sufficiently justified as to how he came to the conclusion that seafarer's illnesses started at work or are work-related and that, by reason of such illnesses, seafarer was no longer fit to work. At most, the said Medical Certificate is a mere summary and generalization of the seafarer’s medical history and condition based on a one-time consultation.
 
Loadstar International Shipping, Inc. vs. E. Y., G.R. No. 228480, April 23, 2018, Second Division, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, ponente
 
 Firm News
 
DelRosarioLaw welcomes Joahnes Crizelle T. Ibarra as a Junior Associate of the firm. She is a 2009 Sociology graduate from University of the Philippines, Diliman and a 2014 Juris Doctor of Laws from Ateneo de Manila University.

Areas of Specialization: Shipping, Labour, Transport, Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, Insurance, Immigration, Litigation, Arbitration, Intellectual Property
 
2018 AsiaLaw Profiles: Outstanding in Shipping, Maritime & Aviation; Recommended in Dispute Resolution & Litigation, Intellectual Property, Labour & Employment

“Del Rosario & Del Rosario has the strongest shipping practice in the Philippines. They definitely deserves the top ranking.” AsiaLaw Profiles 2018

“We rely on them when there’s a problem. We can trust them. And they can deliver the service required.” The Legal 500 2018

“For almost four decades, DelRosarioLaw has led in the shipping and transport practice in the Philippines by assisting stakeholders in fostering institutional changes to ensure the continued viability of the local shipping and manning sectors. This enduring reputation has made the firm’s opinion in major maritime policies of the country most sought after.” Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018
 
This publication aims to provide commentary on issues affecting the manning industry, analysis of recent cases and updates on legislation.  It is meant to be brief and is not intended to be legal advice.  To subscribe or for further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

Bulletin

Holiday Notice:  

In view of national holidays in the Philippines, our offices will be closed on following days -
Thursday 1 November and Friday 2 November, to re-open on Monday 5 November;
Friday 30 November, to re-open on Monday 3 December
 
Emails will be closely monitored but for urgent matters, please call our 24/7 mobile                     63 917 830 8384

 

The Asia Business Law Journal has named Managing Partners Arturo Del Rosario, Jr. and Ruben Del Rosario and Senior Partner Joseph Rebano as one of the Philippines Top 100 Lawyers in their recently published list.

The Top 100 list of lawyers can be accessed as follows:
https://www.vantageasia.com/asia-business-law-journal/Philippines-lawyers/#INTRODUCTION

 

Read More...

DelRosarioLaw welcomes Ruben Jose G. Del Rosario Jr., as a Junior Associate of the firm. He is a 2011 Bachelor of Science in Management, Major in Legal Management graduate of Ateneo de Manila and a 2017 Bachelor of Laws graduate of San Beda College - Alabang.

Read More...

Partner Charles Dela Cruz spoke on "Nuances of Retirement Law in the Philippines" at the 2nd HR Compliance Conference held on September 25-26, 2018 at SMX Aura Convention in Bonifacio Global City.

Read More...

Partners Charles Dela Cruz and Herbert Tria spoke on “Current Crew Claims Handling Issues related to the Data Privacy Act” at the 7th Annual Magsaysay Shipping and Logistics’ Marine Insurance Seminar held on 21 September 2018 at Robert Hall, Times Plaza Building, Manila.

Read More...

DelRosarioLaw Senior Partner Charles Jay Dela Cruz was elected as member of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) for the term 2018-2019.

Read More...

Del Rosario & Del Rosario Partner Joseph Rebano was re-elected as Director of the Philippine Bar Association for the year 2017-2018. 

Read More...

Del Rosario Pandiphil’s Edgardo Antonio A. Del Rosario, MD, Ruth F. Manalo, RN and Irish C. Villafuerte, RN participated as resource speakers in the Officers Dialogue of Multinational Maritime Inc, MMSPhil Maritime Services Corp. and Phil-Crewing Maritime Services Inc. held at their newly inaugurated office located in Cavite City last April 21, 2018.

Read More..

Del Rosario & Del Rosario Law Office Partners Charles Dela Cruz and Denise Cabanos together with Managing Associate Ma Gina Guinto-Ambil visited several P&I Clubs, Ship Owners and Ship Managers in Greece and Cyprus from 16 to 28 April 2018.

Read More...

Del Rosario & Del Rosario lawyers David Valencia and Ralph Villamor took part in the 2018 Skuld School in Hong Kong.

Read More...

The team in our Firm handling crew matters involving Filipino personnel on-board cruise lines embarked on a courtesy visit to the major cruise companies based in Miami.

Read More...

Downloads

  • IRR Seafarer's Protection Act
  • Seafarers Protection Act
  • ORDINANCE No. 28 Series of 2015 Zambales, Philippines
  • NLRC MEMO on 3rd Doctor
  • NLRC Rules of Procedure 2011
  • Standard Terms and Conditions of Del Rosario Law
  • POEA SEC - 2010 Amendments
  • POEA Memorandum Circular No. 10 Series of 2010
  • Governing Board Resolution No. 09 Series of 2010

Go to downloads page...