Is my heart attack or stroke covered under Worker's Compensation?

The South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act covers a variety of injuries that may occur while an employee is working on the job. It does, however, include some restrictions for injuries, illnesses, or death that transpires from natural causes instead of work related tasks.

Heart Attack and Stroke are two serious injuries that may possibly occur while an employee is working. These two injuries must fulfill two requirements to be deemed compensable under the Worker’s Compensation Act.

  1. The employee must have been subjected to either “unusual or extraordinary physical exertion, violence or strain in the course of the employment, or to unusual and extraordinary conditions of his employment.”
  2. The injury or death must be proved “that a causal connection existed between this exertion, violence, strain, or unusual conditions to the claimant’s heart attack or stroke.”

According to the Act, the first requirement is referred to as the “legal causation” while the second refers to “medical causation.” Satisfying these requirements categorizes the stroke or heart attack as an accident which is the foremost requirement to fulfill under the standard Worker’s Compensation Act.

In South Carolina, the Worker’s Compensation Commission performs this test to judge what accidents are covered in most heart attack and stroke cases. For example, an employer would not be held responsible for an injury that occurred from natural causes. The injury must come from “unusual exertion or strain.”

In the court case Price v BF Shaw Company, a man passed away due to a coronary thrombosis while working and performing routine duties. The case went to the Supreme Court and the decision that unless the worker is performing a task out of the ordinary that causes unusual exertion or strain, it is not covered under the WC Act.

In most cases, someone that has heart disease and dies or has a heart attack is the result of natural causes more than from traumatic causes. That is why this test is used within the Act.

If you or a loved one suffers a heart attack or passes away after being subjected to unusual or extraordinary circumstances at work, please contact Attorney Dirk J. Derrick of The Derrick Law Firm for your free consultation. Mr. Derrick has worked for over 30 years to get his clients the benefits they need. 843-248-7486

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