A stroke is when blood flow to the brain is interrupted resulting, in a sudden attack and even loss of consciousness. The immediate cause for the loss of blood is usually either thrombosis, which is a blockage or hemorrhage, which is a ruptured blood vessel.
There are many risk factors associated with strokes from age, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, race, among others. Workplace exertion and stress are two risks that allow for workers’ compensation in California to cover a stroke. The claimant must demonstrate how their work contributed to the stroke and to what degree.
A Work-Related Stroke
Workplace stress is the number one workplace health problem, even ahead of physical inactivity and obesity. Not surprisingly, four of the top ten health costs for US employers – chest pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attack – are all related to stroke. These four health costs drivers can also be detrimental to people with jobs that require manual exertion.
Stress and exertion at work can contribute to a stroke in many types of work. It could be due to repetitive motions in a factory, or lifting heavy objects in a hot warehouse, or a high-stress desk job like day trading. If your workplace environment increases the likelihood of you having a stroke, it can be a workplace illness that qualifies for workers’ compensation.
The existence of a pre-existing health condition does not stop a workers’ compensation claim if they can show the work environment exacerbated, aggravated, or triggered the condition.
Workers’ Compensation For A Work-Related Stroke
The amount of workers’ compensation for a stroke at work resulting in long-term disability can be nuanced and difficult to determine. The compensation is often a percentage of the coverable costs, called an apportionment. Consider a person who suffers a stroke while lifting heavy boxes in a hot room under a tight deadline. In other words, lots of workplace exertion and stress.
If the injured person had previous health conditions like the four described above, they will get a lower percentage of workers’ compensation than a previously healthy person.
Expert medical witnesses will likely be needed to determine proper apportioning. Unfortunately, employers and insurers will usually argue for lower benefits to be awarded. Greater amounts of workers’ compensation drive up premiums for employers as the costs rise for their insurers. Both are strongly incentivized to stress any pre-existing condition. This can be a difficult time for a family caring for a victim of a stroke facing medical bills and lost wages.
Establishing Your Best Claim
Making your best workers’ compensation claim will require investigation, analysis, and expert knowledge. It’s great that California recognizes workplace stress and exertion as a contributing factor to our deteriorating national health. It is, however, the reality that strokes can implicate many health factors outside of work.
These factors will be considered as employers and insurers protect their interests. Workers’ compensation attorney Joseph Kritzer is here to help you protect your interests.