Heart Attacks and Workers’ Compensation
Chances are, last month you heard or saw something regarding heart health. February was American Heart Month, a month the American Heart Association reminds everyone of the signs and symptoms of heart disease, and what to do in the event you or someone you know is experiencing a heart attack.
It is a huge problem in the United States—heart attacks striking someone every 40 seconds, which is roughly 790,000 people a year. While heart disease is by far the leading cause of these incidents, work-related issues such as stress and overexertion are at the root of many heart attacks.
So, how do you know if you’re entitled to workers’ compensation when you have a heart attack on the job? Here are some of the main factors taken into consideration when proving a workers’ compensation case:
- Was the Heart Attack Work-Related?
- Does Your Job Require Heavy Exertion?
- Has Your Heart Attack Prevented You From Returning to Work?
Work-Related Heart Attacks?
Proving a heart attack was work related can be a challenge. Insurance companies and employers often successfully argue the heart attack was due to outside factors such as poor diet, pre-existing conditions or heart disease. If you suffer a heart attack at work, it is likely the burden will fall on you to prove it happened because of abnormal working conditions. Having medical testimony from physicians and medical providers will be imperative in proving the cardiac event was a direct result of your work. For this reason, the sooner you get a workers’ compensation attorney involved, the better the outcome.
Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C. understand the dynamics involved in these types of cases, and can help you file a claim against your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Does Your Job Require Heavy Exertion?
In Pennsylvania, workers who’ve experienced a heart attack must prove their job required an extensive level of exertion along with stress. Stress alone is not enough. And in a case where heavy exertion is believed to be the cause of a heart attack, the victim must prove they were subjected to unusual levels of exertion. If a worker is required as part of their job to do heavy lifting, the exertion might not qualify as unusual. However, if a worker who normally performs sedentary work suffers a heart attack while engaging in physical labor outside the scope of their normal job duties, they likely have a case.
Has Your Heart Attack Prevented You From Returning to Work?
When you’re hurt on the job in Pennsylvania, you can receive workers’ compensation payments whenever a doctor places you on medical leave from work for more than a full week. Once your claim for workers’ compensation is approved, you can receive payments for:
- Medical Benefits
- Lost Wages (Total or Partial Disability Benefits)
- Specific Loss Benefits
- Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement
- Hearing Loss
- Death Benefits
The first check from workers’ compensation should come sometime after the first three weeks after informing your employer of your injury. Payments are typically about 2/3 of what your average weekly wage was prior to the injury. There is a pre-set maximum payment, which just changed this year. For 2019, it’s $1,049.00 per week, up from $1,025.00 per week in 2018.
Workers injured on the job who cannot return to work, who are deemed to have a total permanent disability, are typically entitled to workers’ compensation indefinitely. To be classified as having a total permanent disability, it must be determined that the injured worker is 50 percent or more disabled, and that they cannot return to work in any capacity.
What if You’re Offered a Lump Sum Settlement?
If an insurance company offers you a lump settlement you should contact our office immediately. Insurance companies are under no obligation to offer a fair amount of money to resolve your claim. In most cases, settling your claim will result in an end to your entitlement to ongoing wage loss benefits and medical benefits. The insurance company may also insist that you quit your job in exchange for settling your claim.
Consulting with an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and that you are maximizing the value of your claim. If you or someone you know was injured on the job, Call Georgelis First at 1-800-HURT-NOW.
The workers’ compensation system can be very tricky to navigate, and any misstep can be detrimental to you and your family. Give us a call today so we can help you through the process. The insurance company has countless employees working against you; you should have someone on your side making sure that your are protected.
At Georgelis Injury Law Firm you will not be charged a consultation fee, in fact, you will never be charged a fee unless we get money for you.