A Chicago man was recently able to receive workers’ compensation benefits after suffering a heart attack. The man was a construction project manager who successfully demonstrated that the stress of his job increased his risk of experiencing a heart attack.
Risk & Insurance Magazine reports that this ruling means that an Illinois worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if he or she is able to prove that their working conditions increased their risk of experiencing an adverse health event to levels greater than that of the general population.
The Chicago project manager was reportedly managing about 30 construction projects which had a variety of problems including issues with contractors, delays and budget overruns. Some of the disagreements with contractors and foremen routinely devolved into screaming matches.
It was after a packed day of meetings and arguments that the project manager suffered a heart attack. His workers’ compensation claim was initially denied by an arbitrator, but the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission reportedly reversed the denial of benefits. The Commission determined that the manager’s heart attack arose out of his employment. The project manager’s case was significantly helped by an independent medical examiner who opined that the heart attack was a direct result of his extreme work stress.
The commission found that the cumulative effects of the manager’s stress resulted in his heart attack, making it a workplace illness. Workers who seek to win similar cases will likely have to bring forth strong medical testimony that links their heart attacks to increased levels of workplace stress.
Source: Risk & Insurance, “Project manager proves working conditions caused heart attack ,” Dec. 10, 2012