Workers’ compensation benefits may be available when employees suffer work-related heart attacks. Recovering lost wages and medical bills for a heart attack that happens at work is similar to filing a claim for any other workplace injury. Since the insurer may try to blame the injury on pre-existing conditions like heart disease or obesity, a workers’ comp lawyer will often collect medical records and other evidence to show the heart attack was work-related.
What Is Considered a Work-Related Heart Attack?
In Illinois, a heart attack is work-related if it is caused by some aspect of the victim’s employment. A work-related heart attack could occur at work or outside the workplace during non-work hours. When a heart attack occurs outside of work, the employee may need to prove that the cardiac symptoms began at work and continued after leaving work for the day.
There are four general categories of work-related heart attacks where the injured party could be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim:
Heart Attacks Caused by Physical Activity at Work
A heart attack that is related to physical activity at work does not necessarily mean it needs to be caused by an activity like lifting a heavy object. It could be caused by performing a physically demanding job for long hours or simply working too many hours.
Heart Attacks Caused by Environmental Conditions at Work
Environmental conditions on a job site can have a detrimental effect on workers’ cardiovascular systems that can lead to heart attacks. Exposure to hazardous chemicals that could cause respiratory disease puts extra strain on the heart. Exposure to extreme temperatures can increase the risk of heart attack in even the healthiest workers.
Heart Attacks Caused by Emotional Events at Work
Stress, anxiety, fear, worry, or surprises at work can increase the risk of a heart attack. Victims who suffer heart attacks that are triggered by an emotional event, like getting yelled at by a supervisor or witnessing a tragic event at work may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Heart Attacks Caused by Medical Treatment from Work-Related Injuries
A worker that experiences a heart attack while getting treated for a work injury or one that is caused by medication given because of an injury is likely to be eligible for compensation under the original work injury. An example of this could be the worker having a heart attack while having an MRI to diagnose the work injury.