Are Heart Attacks at Work Covered By Work Comp?

May 17, 2023 | Compensability

Are Heart Attacks at Work Covered By Work Comp? – Workers’ Compensations handles heart attacks very differently than most other kinds of events and injuries at work.

Heart Attacks at Work

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is a blockage of blood flow to the heart, not the head or another body, so, for example, if you’ve got a blockage of blood flow to the head, that’s a stroke, and strokes are not subject to the same rules that heart attacks are, so the first thing you need to know is if what you’re dealing with is a heart attack or not.

How to prove a heart attack at work?

If it is a heart attack, you’ve got to prove more than just something at work caused a heart attack, you’ve got to show that you were engaged in unusual exertion, and that caused the heart attack.

Farmers, for example, work hard every single day, so if one day they have a heart attack, it’s not unusual exertion because they were doing what they’ve been doing for years, so it probably wouldn’t be covered.

But if you work in an office building, you lift 15 pounds, but a coworker who weighs a lot has an accident, and you have to help them downstairs, and you have a heart attack because of it, that’s going to be considered unusual exertion.

How can insurance companies try to fight?

Insurance companies will try to get out of liability two ways, they’re going to say that the exertion that occurred wasn’t unusual and was part of the job, nothing out of the ordinary, or they will try to blame the heart attack on anything other than that exertion.

For example, the insurance company’s doctor may say that you were a walking heart attack because of what you ate and that they’re amazed that you didn’t have a heart attack sooner and it wasn’t due to the unusual exertion. You need a lawyer who will be able to poke holes into the doctor’s testimony.

Exception: Firefighters

There’s an important exception, and that’s if you’re a firefighter, the state legislature has decided they will treat firefighters differently, and they don’t have to prove that there was unusual exertion.

If you’ve been a firefighter for 5 years and your pre-employment physical showed that your heart was fine, the law treats your heart attack as presumed to have occurred on the job. Still, the insurance company will always try to fight it.

We’re here to help – Are Heart Attacks at Work Covered By Work Comp?

Work injuries on the job, particularly heart attacks, are fact dependent and complicated, so if you or your loved ones have been injured on the job in Colorado, we can help you. Call or text us at 970-356-98-98. All of our consultations are free and confidential.

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