What You Need to Know if You Suffered a Stroke at Work
It’s been a difficult few months. You were on a job site when you suddenly felt dizzy and started to have double vision. Later, you learned that you had a stroke at work. All things considered, you were lucky you weren’t alone. Otherwise, you might not be alive. The quick actions of your coworkers were lifesavers. However, you can’t help but wonder. Are you a candidate for workers’ compensation benefits?
As you likely know by now, you must be in the course of your employment to make a claim for workers’ compensation. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that just because you were on the job that you’ve suffered a workplace accident.
In many cases, your injury will correspond logically to a specific accident at work. For example, it’s easy to explain your broken foot when you can point to a piece of machinery that fell on it. Likewise, the source of your burns wouldn’t be much of a mystery if a chemical spilled on your skin. But, what about what some might consider a medical condition? In the case of a stroke, there must be proof that it is related to a specific work-connected accident to be considered compensable.
Proving Your Stroke was Work Related
According to the American Heart Association, hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel leaks in the brain. Any bleeding that happens in the brain itself is known as a cerebral hemorrhage. Bleeding within the skull is referred to as intracranial hemorrhage. When blood pools in the brain, it can result in oxygen deprivation.
In addition to showing your cerebral hemorrhage was related to work, New Jersey law also requires that the condition would not have occurred were it not for the work-related incident. There can be a delay between an accident and a hemorrhage which can make these types of claims potentially harder to prove than more common injuries. Despite this, it is not uncommon for courts to award everything from partial disability to full death benefits in cases involving a cerebral hemorrhage. What’s more, unlike heart attack claims it is unnecessary to prove that an unusual amount of strain or stress was on the employee before the cerebral hemorrhage occurred.
Take for example a historic New Jersey case involving a milk truck driver. In that case, a driver of a milk truck was loading cases of milk onto his vehicle when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. The employer sought to avoid an award, arguing that loading a milk truck did not involve any additional stress than usual and should not be covered. The Court disagreed and awarded benefits.
Not every claim ends in coverage, however. In a case from many years ago, a worker suffered a debilitating cerebral hemorrhage while at home on his day off. However, the worker argued that his medical condition was caused by an accidental fall at work three weeks before the stroke occurred. The court found the length of time between the fall and hemorrhage was too speculative, and no other convincing evidence attributing the hemorrhage to the fall was presented. The Court denied any compensation.
Did You Suffer a Stroke at Work?
If you or a loved one suffered a stroke at work, or believe your medical condition was the result of physical exertion while working, it is crucial that you seek the advice of an attorney right away. Contact the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo to schedule a complimentary consultation right away.