Can heart attacks be work-related injury?
Can heart attacks be work-related? It might seem obvious. After all, you had a heart attack at work. Your employer is therefore liable for workers’ compensation benefits, right? Should they pay for your medical bills, afford you lost wages, and offer an award on permanent disability? In short, the answer is maybe. Not every heart attack that occurs at work is considered compensable.
The Law and Heart Attacks at Work
What does the law say about the compensability of heart attacks at work? According to NJSA 34:15-7.2, claims for injury or death from cardiovascular or cerebral vascular causes require that the claimant shall “prove by a preponderance of the credible evidence that the injury or death was produced by the work effort or strain involving a substantial condition, event or happening in excess of the wear and tear of the claimant’s daily living and in reasonable medical probability caused in a material degree the cardiovascular or cerebral vascular injury or death resulting therefrom.” A cerebral vascular event is the formal name for a stroke.
What does this mean exactly? In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits for a heart attack or stroke, the event must meet certain conditions. Most importantly, the claimant must show that the incident occurred because of something that occurred at work. If the heart attack just so happened to occur at work, there is a chance it is not compensable. The circumstances should be different than everyday occurrences.
Cases Where the Court has Deemed Heart Attacks Compensable
The law often seems restrictive to those that are unfamiliar with it. Are there incidences when awards are made for heart attack cases? Here are a couple of examples when the court ruled in favor of the claimant or the decedent’s family:
- Estate of mill operator was able to prove that decedent’s overtime work contributed to employee’s heart attack and subsequent death. This was proven by a medical test, despite the fact that the individual already had preexisting evidence of unstable angina.
- Equipment operator who worked excessive overtime and then suffered a heart attack was entitled to total and permanent cardiovascular disability. He suffered the heart attack when he was engaged in extreme physical labor after several hours of work.
Are you Entitled to Workers Compensation Benefits for a Heart Attack?
Heart attack or stroke cases under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation statutes are often difficult. In order to determine if your case meets the standard, it is necessary to secure legal advice. We suggest locating an experienced attorney for this type of case. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have handled many work-related accidents. Contact us to see if you are entitled to benefits.