Doctors will tell you, a host of issues can attribute to a heart condition – so when does a heart attack justify workers compensation benefits? The Wyoming Supreme Court recently identified three conditions which must be met for workman's comp injury management to come into play following a worksite heart attack.
To seek workman’s comp benefits, competent medical evidence must establish:
1. Causal connection
A direct causal connection between work performed and the cardiac condition.
2. Unusual stressor(s)
The cardiac condition must have occurred during a period of employment stress that was clearly unusual or abnormal for the job – whether or not that stress is unusual or abnormal for the individual.
The appearance of the acute symptoms of the cardiac condition must have clearly manifested within four hours of the exertion allegedly resulting in the cardiac event.
The ruling in action:
A recent case following the death of 68-year-old Robert Scherf following a heart attack after working as a front end loader was initially denied by the Workers’ Compensation and Safety Division. The grounds? No indication work performed was unusual/abnormal. Upheld by the district court following an appeal by Scherf’s widow, the ruling was later upturned by the Wyoming Supreme Court following the findings that:
● A cardiologist confirmed Scherf’s myocardial infarction began at work and resulted from heavy exertion involved in opening and shutting an access panel on the loader.
● Reviews of employee testimonies showed exertion was indeed unusual or abnormal, as Scherf’s loader had been caked with mud and was unusually difficult to open and close.
Are tricky workman's comp injury management issues tying you up? Minnesota Comp Advisor can help. Contact us today to see how easy we can make management of workers comp issues for your business.