No workplace is immune to injuries and accidents, but for some jobs, the risk for certain types of injury is well-known and deserves close attention. Heat exhaustion is one such injury, and workers are most at risk if their job is outdoors, in a poorly air-conditioned environment, or is particularly strenuous.
Heat exhaustion can happen easily when workers are dehydrated and temperatures are high. Workers who ignore the symptoms of heat exhaustion, like dizziness and heavy sweating, may suffer heatstroke, which is a medical emergency. Heatstroke can cause seizures, brain damage, and death if left untreated.
Because heat exhaustion is so prevalent in many work environments, some states have added laws and guidelines that specifically address this condition. Companies may also promote awareness or provide training in an attempt to prevent heatstroke.
Can you claim worker’s compensation for heat exhaustion?
In theory, worker’s compensation covers an employee no matter what the kind of injury is, as long as it occurred at work or while performing work-related duties. Heat exhaustion, being a common workplace concern, is certainly no exception.
In reality, workers may face an uphill battle after sustaining a work-related injury like heat exhaustion. Some employers will obstruct a legitimate worker’s compensation claim, arguing that another condition is causing the worker’s symptoms. Workers who are overweight or have a pre-existing condition, such as heart disease, may be at a higher risk of heat exhaustion, and employers may try to use this to get out of paying.
Nothing in worker’s compensation law supports this practice. While pre-existing conditions are not technically covered, new or worsening symptoms may be covered if they are caused by your work environment. Your claim is not invalid simply because a prior health issue put you at a higher than normal risk of injury.
When to get help
If your claim isn’t going the way you expected, you may want to consult a worker’s compensation attorney. This can greatly improve the outcome of your case, especially if your employer is making things difficult for you. For a free consultation, contact our offices by phone, email, or text message today!