A fire chief of 40 years died of a heart attack suffered while responding to a house fire. He was found slumped over the wheel of his rescue truck after helping stretch fire hoses. Emergency crews onsite immediately began CPR and the fire chief was rushed to the hospital. He did not survive the heart attack.
Colorado workers’ compensation covers job-related injuries, including a heart attack if it caused unusual exertion while on the job. Denver unusual exertion attorneys offer the following examples of when workers’ comp has covered an on-the-job heart attack:
- The manual stacking and restacking of seed bags by a farm worker who later suffered a heart attack
- The manual unloading and stacking of bags of cement by a lumber store worker who later suffered a heart attack
Whether unloading and stretching fire hoses by a firefighter would qualify as unusual exertion for Colorado workers’ compensation benefits is not yet known. However, this particular firefighter neither lived nor worked in Colorado.
Colorado’s Unusual Exertion Standard
When it comes to heart attacks and workers’ compensation coverage, the tricky part lies in connecting the cause of the attack to a work activity. The exertion must be unusual, although the activity that caused the exertion may actually be a normal day-to-day task. For example, if you complete your everyday work activities, but do so in hot weather that causes overexertion and leads to a heart attack, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
A heart attack can occur for many reasons, but in order to qualify for Colorado work comp benefits, the unusual exertion while performing job duties must be connected to the heart attack. Often, a cardiologist’s or other medical expert’s testimony will be necessary to link the overexertion at work to the cause of a heart attack. Work activities that cause a heart attack as well as those that aggravate a preexisting heart condition may qualify an employee who suffers a heart attack for workers’ compensation.
Heart attacks and Colorado workers’ compensation are not a simple subject, but an experienced Denver work comp lawyer can examine the facts surrounding your heart attack and help you apply for benefits if you are eligible.
Source: NJ.com, “Hopelawn fire chief suffers fatal heart attack at scene of Woodbridge blaze,” 20 January 2012