Heart-related workers’ compensation claims can be complex and the related medical terms can be confusing. The legal issues related to heart attack claims can also be complex and troublesome. The difficulty arises when trying to separate and balance the law, facts, and evidence between risk at work and personal risk outside of employment and work activities.
As with all workers’ compensation claims, but especially critical in heart-related claims, medical evidence is crucial to determining benefits owed to a worker who suffers a heart-related incident at work. The work done must be a contributing cause of the heart attack. The activity precipitating the heart-related event does not have to be unusual, extra-strenuous or over the amount of typical exertion for that activity, the work can be typical and customary for employment if the causal connection (link between work activity and injury) can be shown (through medical evidence).
The question is “did the exertion of employment responsibilities cause unexpected results and does medical evidence show the work exertion contributed to the injury or death?” If there can be no exertion shown over and above that of ordinary wear and tear of life, there may not be a legal causal connection between the heart attack and the work (desk work in the air conditioning with no exertion or stress above that outside of work).
There are two tests to help answer these questions. The first test requires credible medical evidence showing the work at least aggravated, accelerated, or contributed to the heart attack. The second test requires evidence of physical exertion and/or emotional stress being higher than the ordinary wear and tear of life outside of work.
A worker found dead at work of a heart attack creates a rebuttal presumption of work connectedness.
The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act can be difficult to apply in some cases and this is why you need an experienced injury lawyer to help you protect your rights and keep you informed. Call me for a no-obligation consultation and we will get to work for you. As always, you owe nothing unless we win.