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Can You File Workers’ Compensation For Heat Stroke?

December 12, 2017By Niko Pothitakis

Summer brings along scorching temperatures and longer days. While most employees have the luxury of sitting in an air conditioned office, there are hundreds of workers that are outside during Iowa summers. For those employees working long days outside, there is a higher risk for heat stroke. Employees that get heat stroke may be wondering if their condition qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits, especially since their job required them to work outside.

Understanding Eligibility

Workers’ compensation covers work-related injuries. In order for an injury to be classified as “work-related,” the employee must have an injury that was aggravated or directly caused by work duties or workplace conditions. For heat stroke, an employee would need to show proof that having to work outside for their job led to the condition. Also, there are instances where employees can suffer from heart attacks related to heat exposure. Since obese and overweight employees are at higher risk for heat stroke, an employer will try to argue that the heat stroke was caused by a pre-existing condition. Nevertheless, the employee’s pre-existing condition is still aggravated by work-related duties, so it is covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ Compensation Protects Employees

Heat stroke is a common injury among employees that work outside during the summer. The state has multiple laws and regulations in place to help avoid dangerous conditions, and it requires employers to take steps to protect their employees from heat stroke or heat-related injuries. Just some things an employer should do to protect their employees include:

  • Providing adequate amounts of water on-site to ensure employees stay hydrated while working outdoors. OSHA recommends that one quart of water is supplied per employee per hour. Employers should encourage employees to take multiple breaks and drink water, giving them enough time to have a quart of water per hour.
  • Employers should also have a heat safety training and protocol plan in place for employees working outdoors. This should teach employees how to recognize the early signs of heat stroke and teach them methods for preventing it.

Benefits for Heat Stroke

Workers’ compensation in Iowa allows an employee to collect medical coverage and disability for heat-related injuries or illnesses. If the employee suffers from heat stroke – which can be life-threatening – they may require emergency medical care. The benefits under the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy should cover all emergency medical costs as well as subsequent medical costs. While the employee is out of work due to their heat-related injury, workers’ compensation will also pay disability benefits. For some employees, it may take several days to recover fully from heat stroke, while an employee with heat exhaustion (a precursor to heat stroke) may only need one or two days to recover. Some employees suffering from heat stroke may be permitted to return to work, but only in a temporarily-limited capacity, meaning they can only work in a cool, indoor environment.

Have You Suffered From Heat Stroke? Contact Pothitakis Law Firm

If you have suffered from a heat-related injury or illness, contact an attorney at Pothitakis Law Firm today. We can discuss your heat-related condition, the medical care you are receiving, and your workers’ compensation claim benefits. Call us at 888-459-7613 or complete an online contact form to get started.