Employment Law

Workers’ Compensation Law

What if you suffer a heart attack due to stress on the job? Are you compensable under workers compensation?

It depends. In some jurisdictions the question would be whether the heart attack was brought about by physical exertion or strain on the job as opposed to one brought about from mental stress or an emotional issue. If the heart attack is brought on by undue physical exertion on job, that would be compensable. If the heart attack was brought on by mental stress, the question would be whether there was an abnormal or unusual event at work that brought on the heart attack.

For example, one Tennessee court determined that there was a compensable injury under workers’ compensation for the family of a security guard who suffered a heart attack and died on his job shortly after confronting several would-be shoplifters who threatened him. The court reasoned that the injury arose out of the employment relationship because the heart attack was precipitated by the unusually volatile confrontation between the security guard and the would-be shoplifters.

Workers can receive compensation for a work-related injury even if the employer was not negligent in the incident (iStock).

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