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Illinois project manager entitled to workers’ comp after heart attack

On behalf of Jeffrey Frederick of Frederick & Hagle posted in Workers’ Compensation on Monday, December 24, 2012.

It is not unusual for workers’ compensation claims to be denied. In an ideal world, anyone injured through the course of their job would receive all of the coverage that they need to heal. However, we do not live in an ideal world and sometimes workers need to fight for their due benefits. A denied claim is not a call to throw in the towel.

One Illinois worker that had his claim initially denied recently saw that denial reversed by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The worker is a project manager that handles a high volume or projects with a substantial, multi-million dollar budget. The worker says that through the course of his job, he endured severe amounts of stress with contentious business relationships, contractual disputes and blown budgets.

One day after yet another heated exchange, the man suffered a heart attack. A medical professional deemed that this man’s heart attack was stress-induced from his abnormally stressful job. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission agreed.

This decision does not mean that any employee that has a heart attack will be able to claim workers’ comp benefits. This worker was able to show that his job exposed him to a much higher level of stress than the general public. Accordingly, the medical event he suffered was considered to result directly from his employment, and he was thereby able to claim benefits under workers’ compensation.

Therefore, this ruling means that in Illinois, a worker that is shown to suffer due to higher stress than the average employee may be eligible for workers’ compensation. It could still be an uphill battle to collect the necessary benefits, however, and a suffering employee would do well to seek the assistance of experienced legal counsel.

Source: Risk and Insurance, “Project manager proves working conditions caused heart attack,” Dec. 10, 2012

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