According to information recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600,000 Americans die each year of heart disease – that’s one out of every four deaths. Indeed, heart disease is the leading cause of death each year for both men and women in the U.S. Each year, almost 750,000 Americans have heart attacks. Some of those heart attacks occur at work.
Heart Disease Doesn’t Develop Overnight
Heart disease takes time to develop; it doesn’t just happen overnight. When a Georgia worker sustains a heart attack at the workplace, the employer or workers’ compensation insurer is, therefore, likely to view the claim skeptically.
The Insurance Adjuster: “We Can’t Pay For Pre-Existing Conditions”
Adjusters and claims representatives will often say, “The attack was due to a pre-existing
condition. We’re not responsible and we won’t pay.” Can a Georgia worker recover benefits for a heart attack, in spite of having heart trouble or high blood pressure? Can the dependents of a worker who suffers a fatal heart attack recover death benefits when their loved one may have been diagnosed with some sort of cardiovascular ailment, prior to the fatal attack? The answer is one that is most commonly given to any legal question: “It depends.”
Was the Heart Attack (or Stroke) Brought About by Exertion or Other Work-Related Factors?
The Georgia employer generally takes the employee as “it finds the employee.” This means that ordinarily, the employer takes the employee with whatever pre-existing conditions are present, including the employee’s heart disease. This does not, however, mean that, just because the heart attack occurred at the employer’s work premises during work hours, it is automatically covered. The injured worker (or the dependents of the deceased worker) must show that the heart attack was brought about by some sort of physical exertion, or some sort of unusual workplace condition (for example, bitter cold or blistering heat), or by unusual levels of stress and strain.
Medical Evidence Is Usually Critical to Establishing a Heart Attack Claim
In virtually all cases of heart attacks, the injured worker or dependents must present expert medical evidence supporting their claim that the conditions of the employment caused the attack, or at least exacerbated or aggravated the worker’s heart condition so as to bring about the attack. For example, if the worker had a sedentary job, with little stress or pressure, and suffered a heart attack while sitting at his or her desk, it may be difficult to prove the claim. On the other hand, if, at the time of the heart attack, the worker was performing strenuous labor, it may be quite possible to establish the claim through expert medical testimony.
Because of Complexity, Heart Attack Claims Require Aggressive, Expert Legal Representation
The vast majority of heart attack claims are denied by the insurance company representing the employer. Remember, the adjuster works for the insurance company and the employer; he or she does not work for you. Some are quite fair, but in the handling of their claims, they generally give any benefit of the doubt to the employer – not to the injured employee. To win a heart attack case, you likely will need strong, expert medical assistance and, in virtually every case, you will need an aggressive, experienced attorney who handles workers’ compensation claims.
At the Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C., you will have strong and aggressive counsel. Clarke’s office isn’t full of case managers whose job it is to work behind the scenes on behalf of a television face. When you call the office to check on your case, you can discuss the situation with Clarke himself. Clarke once worked for the insurance companies, so he knows how they operate and what motivates them. He has office availability throughout the state of Georgia. Contact the Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. by telephone at (912) 200-5292 to schedule a consultation today.