Heart Attack and Workers’ Compensation
August 7, 2018
Pennsylvania workers who suffer work-related heart attacks may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, due to the various potential causes for heart attacks, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and other non-work-related causes, workers seeking compensation must prove that their heart attack was directly related to their work environment.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act
According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”), workers must meet two elements in order for their heart attack to be compensable: 1) an objectively verifiable injury must have occurred to the physical body and 2) that injury must have arisen in the course of employment. Therefore, injured workers must prove that the physical stresses of their work environment caused their heart attack.
The Heart Attack Must Have Arisen in the Scope and Course of Employment
“Injuries arising in the course and scope of employment” does not necessarily mean that the heart attack must have occurred at work. Compensable cases under the Act may include situations where a worker suffered a heart attack while at work, on their way home from work or even after they are no longer employed by the company.
Prior Physical Health Does Not Exclude Workers from Coverage
Just because a worker was in poor physical health prior to having a heart attack does not mean they are excluded from coverage. However, injured workers must show that but for their work environment, they would not have suffered a heart attack. Manual labor workers are at particularly high risk of suffering a heart attack, including those in the agricultural, warehouse, retail, construction and healthcare industries.
Workers May Need to Show Abnormal Working Conditions
Depending on the situation, those who suffer work-related heart attacks may have to show that they were subject to abnormal working conditions. Abnormal working conditions not only refers to physical stressors; emotional stressors may also qualify provided the claimant can show that the injury occurred as a result of their work environment. Therefore, workers may be able to recover under the Act when a mental or emotional injury leads to a physical injury (such as when work stress leads to a heart attack).
Expert Testimony May Be Needed to Establish the Cause of the Heart Attack
There are cases in which the cause of a worker’s heart attack is difficult to determine. In those cases, it may be necessary to introduce expert medical testimony to show the connection between the heart attack and the work environment. If you suffered a work-related heart attack, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. The statute of limitations and other legal deadlines must be met in order for you to get benefits for your injury. A qualified workers’ compensation attorney will make sure your claim is filed properly and explain what other evidence may be required in your case.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Those Who Suffered Work-Related Heart Attacks
The Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. represent all types of injured workers, including those who suffered work-related heart attacks. We represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.