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

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.

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 Workers' Compensation 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.

Have You Been Injured On The Job?

If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843.484.0707 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

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