{loadmoduleid ? string:? string:? string:? string:? string:? string:287 ? ? ? ? ? ?}

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. .



Edmon Ruiz

Contact Details

Telephone: +63 2 5317 7888, +63 2 8810 1791 Fax:  63 2 5317 7890 24/7
Mobile: 63 917 83 8384

Useful Links

Send a Message

Your Cart

{loadmoduleid ? string:? string:? string:? string:? string:? string:285 ? ? ? ? ? ?}


{loadmoduleid ? string:? string:? string:? string:? string:? string:286 ? ? ? ? ? ?}