Heart Disease

Riverside and San Bernardino County Lawyers Assisting Injured Employees

Heart disease causes numerous deaths. It may happen if the arteries that provide the heart with oxygenated blood are narrowed by fatty deposits. When arteries narrow, the amount of oxygenated blood that reaches the heart can be reduced, resulting in pain. If you are concerned about making a workers’ compensation claim based on heart disease, you should consult the seasoned Riverside and San Bernardino County workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. It is vital to have a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney by your side for a claim arising out of heart disease.

Heart Disease

You can receive workers’ compensation benefits only for work-related injuries or illnesses. In California, injuries or illnesses are deemed work-related when an event or exposure in the workplace or environment triggered the condition. Heart disease can also be considered work-related if a pre-existing condition was significantly aggravated by the work.

It may be straightforward to obtain benefits for acute injuries arising out of a work accident. Often, there are witnesses to these accidents, and they can verify the seriousness of what happened and the injuries that resulted. However, it can be very challenging to show that heart attacks or other heart conditions are work-related. The heart disease must arise out of and in the course of employment to be the subject of a workers’ compensation claim. Toxins such as methylene chloride are known to increase the risk of heart disease. Likewise, extreme temperatures can exacerbate a pre-existing heart condition or place undue pressure on the heart. Certain types of job strain might contribute to heart disease. Work-related activities that could lead to heart attack or stroke include heavy exertion or significant job stress.

Substantial Contributing Cause

Your heart attack or heart disease need not be solely caused by work conditions or work-related stress to be a basis for workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, your work needs to be a substantial contributing cause. However, you should be aware that if work simply exacerbates a heart disease, what you can obtain by way of benefits is restricted to the portion of your disability that can be reasonably traced to work. If your pre-existing heart disease is aggravated by your job, such that you have a heart attack, you are entitled to compensation even if a healthy worker would not have had a heart attack under the circumstances.

As of the time of this writing, under Labor Code section 3212, if a peace officer develops heart disease, there is a presumption that the condition arose out of employment and is compensable through the workers’ compensation system. The presumption also follows the termination of service for three calendar months for every full year of the service, but not more than 60 months, starting with the last date actually worked as a peace officer. The same presumption covers firefighters and corrections officers. The presumption applies to law enforcement roles, but it does not apply to workers whose roles are primarily clerical.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In California, benefits that may be obtained in a workers’ compensation claim arising from heart disease include medical benefits, disability benefits, and vocational retraining. For example, if a doctor determines that you can no longer work as a peace officer after you suffered a work-related heart attack, you may be able to recover your medical and hospital expenses, temporary total disability benefits, and a supplemental job displacement benefit in the amount of $6,000 to be educated to do another job.

People who were dependent on a worker who died from work-related heart disease may be able to obtain death benefits from a work-related heart attack that results in death; these can include reasonable burial expenses.

Consult a Seasoned Attorney in Riverside or San Bernardino County

If you sustained heart disease that is work-related in Riverside or San Bernardino County, you should consult the Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. Our workers’ compensation attorneys represent people throughout Southern California. Call us at (888) 883-6588 or complete our online form.

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