Some occupational hazards are rather obvious to those working in Pennsylvania, such as those associated with being a firefighter or construction worker. In other cases, linking a medical condition to a particular workplace injury is not so easy. One metal foundry worker was successful in getting workers' compensation benefits for a stroke that left him partially paralyzed.
The 50-year-old man spent over two decades working intermittently in the foundry's "hot room." It was determined that the overwhelming heat and physical demands of the work in this part of the foundry contributed to an on-the-job stroke that caused the left side of his body to become paralyzed. Based on the ruling of a local workers' compensation judge, the man will receive a weekly benefit of $718 for as long as he suffers from the work-related illness, which may be the remainder of his life.
It is not common that a worker receives compensation for suffering a stroke. The burden to prove that a stroke occurred because of work-related duties is exceptionally difficult. Additionally, it's tough to make a workers' compensation claim for a heart attack or psychological disorders.
Representatives for the foundry fought the claim based on the safety measures they have in place and a pre-existing medical condition. The crux of the company's case was that the man suffered from high blood pressure, which they believed to be the cause of the stroke. However, physically exhausting conditions in the hot room, coupled with records showing that the man's high blood pressure had been under control for years, was enough for the compensation claim to succeed.
Even if you have a tough case for workers' compensation, you may still have a legitimate claim. As this instance demonstrates, there are working conditions that can lead a person to suffer from a medical condition as unlikely as a stroke or heart attack. Workers that receive a debilitating injury as a result of their work should be entitled to a benefit for their pain and suffering.
Source: The Morning Call, "Victaulic foundry employee wins workers' comp for on-the-job stroke," Peter Hall, Feb. 20, 2012