Heart Attack at Work
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the U.S. has a heart attack every 42 seconds, making heart disease the number one cause of death in the country. Although many heart attacks occur while people are at work, Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws do not always cover the costs of these types of injuries. In some cases, however, it is possible for a worker who suffered a heart attack on the job to collect compensation through the program if he or she is able to establish that the heart attack arose out of and in the course of employment. This can be a difficult standard to meet, so if you suffered a heart attack at work, it is crucial to retain an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help you present your claim.
What Causes Heart Attacks?
The heart requires a constant supply of blood, which is transported via the coronary arteries. However, these arteries can become narrowed if inflammatory cells, proteins, and fatty matter begin to build up and create plaque, which slowly hardens over time. When plaque cracks, platelets, which aid in clotting, come to the area and form around the plaque. If the plaque is large, the blood clot may completely block the artery, which deprives the heart of the oxygen-rich blood that it requires and causes a heart attack. The resulting lack of oxygen causes the heart and brain cells to malfunction and eventually die. This cell death manifests in the following ways:
Different arteries supply blood to different regions of the heart, so the amount of damage sustained by a heart during a heart attack depends on the size of the area being denied blood as well as the time between the onset of the attack and treatment. Although less common, heart attacks can also be caused by the spasming of a coronary artery. In these cases, a coronary spasm causes the arteries in the heart to restrict, which then reduces blood supply. If the heart is denied access to oxygen-rich blood for more than 20 minutes, it can become permanently damaged, which can be deadly. Once at the hospital, however, doctors can administer drugs that break up clots and resume blood flow to important organs. During the healing process, a scar will form on the heart. Unfortunately, scar tissue does not contract, so the heart’s ability to pump blood in and out will be reduced, which can cause problems down the road.
Although anyone can have a heart attack, age and a family history of heart disease can play a role in the likelihood that a person will suffer from an attack. Other, more controllable factors that increase a person’s risk of heart attack, include:
Controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure are critical to preventing heart attacks, especially amongst those who have a history of heart disease in their family.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Heart attacks can leave a person permanently unable to perform certain types of work and in fact, can keep some employees out of the workforce entirely. Unfortunately, even when a heart attack occurs while someone is on the job, the Georgia’s workers’ compensation program will not compensate the injured party for lost wages and medical benefits as they would for a broken leg or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
In certain cases, however, it is possible to obtain compensation for a heart attack, although in order to receive benefits, an employee must be able to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the heart attack can be attributed to the performance of his or her job. This means that for this type of claim to succeed, an employee must be able to provide credible and competent medical evidence that the work environment or certain aspects of a job led to the heart attack. For instance, someone who suffered a heart attack at work may be able to collect compensation if he or she can prove that the following job-related risk factors existed at the time of the attack:
Courts have also stated that in order to satisfy the burden of proof, the injured worker does not need to demonstrate that the physical exertion engaged in was excessive or unusual. Furthermore, workers’ compensation benefits can still be provided even if the employee had a pre-existing heart problem, but only if it is still possible to demonstrate that the heat attack itself actually grew out of and in the course of employment. Without this proof, evidence that a person suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol prior to the heart attack will usually be taken as proof that the injury was not work-related, but was instead caused by the injured party’s lifestyle.
In these cases, it is especially important for the injured party to seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can launch an investigation into:
Talking to fellow employees can prove crucial in obtaining accurate information about what caused a person’s heart attack.
Call Today to Speak With an Experienced Georgia Workers Compensation Attorney
Heart attacks often require emergency surgery, prescription medications, and grueling therapy, all of which are expensive and can quickly overwhelm the finances of the injured party. Although heart attack claims are often denied by workers’ compensation insurers, it is possible for heart attack victims to collect compensation if their attack happened at work. To learn more about your own options, please contact one of the dedicated Georgia personal injury lawyers at Spillers Law Firm by calling (678) 208-0800 or by sending us a brief message.
Georgia Workers Compensation Attorney
At Spillers Law Firm, we never lose sight of our number one goal — to obtain maximum compensation for you. Whether your case requires litigation, negotiation or simply waiting for the best settlement offer, we know how to achieve the best possible results for you and your family.
These settlement amounts are more than just money. They are a means of regaining the peace of mind, safety and security that was taken from you when you were injured.
Our clients often express just how much they truly appreciate the genuine concern and compassion shown by our staff. They also appreciate our attorneys’ willingness to wait for a better settlement or for an opportunity to litigate. This means that he does not settle for the first offer that comes along. The goal is maximum compensation for our clients.
For a FREE case evaluation from a Georgia workers compensation attorney, contact Charles Spillers today.
"Just wanted to say thank you for all the work you did for me. I would have been lost without your help. I will send all of my friends and relatives to you."M.S.
"I highly recommend Charles, he represented me for my personal injury claim and got excellent results. The insurer offered only $6000.00, he tried my case and got a jury verdict of $327,000.00."L.T.