An injury on the job can be sudden like a slip and fall, or it can build up over time, like a repetitive strain injury. However, some injuries—like a heart attack—are the result of both repetitive stress and a sudden event. Daily exposure to a stressful work environment, physical exertion, extreme heat, and other physical and emotional tolls on the body can impact the health of a worker little by little, until one day the body can no longer handle the strain. However, heart attack and stroke victims must prove that their conditions are work-related in order to collect workers’ compensation.
Proving a Heart Attack or Stroke Is Work-Related
Heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiac injuries are covered by workers’ compensation in Rhode Island, but the employee has the burden of proving his case. To show a link between the work they do and the injury they suffered, claimants should thoroughly address:
- Evidence from medical records. If you have no prior history of heart trouble, medical evidence is important for proving your case. This is especially true if the dates of your employment coincide with worsening test results or symptoms (such as high blood pressure, angina, panic attacks, or problems sleeping).
- Preexisting injuries. Your employer’s insurance company may look for medical evidence to deny your claim such as a history of cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. However, it is important to remember that previous injuries may still be covered if your job made them worse. For example, a person with an irregular heartbeat may be more susceptible to cardiac events caused by workplace stress.
- Specific conditions in the work environment. Heat exhaustion is a common cause of heart attacks and strokes, especially when combined with physical labor. You should outline all of your physical duties, your location, and contributing factors on the date of your injury. In addition, if you were being harassed by a manager, forced to adhere to a tight deadline, threatened by a coworker, or worked many overtime hours in a row, these extraordinary job pressures could have led to your condition.
Strokes and heart attacks can permanently impact a victim’s ability to earn a living and may cause complications that require lifelong medical care. Our attorneys can help you prove the relationship between your condition and your employment, getting you the compensation you need to recover. Contact Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum via our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation at no cost to you.