I had a heart attack at work - am I eligible for Texas workers' compensation benefits?

 

A:

Yes, but under very specific circumstances.

Under the Labor Code, Title 5. Workers' Compensation, Subtitle A. Texas Workers' Compensation Act, Chapter 408. Workers' Compensation Benefits, Subchapter A. General Provisions, Sec. 408.008:

COMPENSABILITY OF HEART ATTACKS.  A heart attack is a compensable injury under this subtitle only if:

(1)  the attack can be identified as:

(A)  occurring at a definite time and place;  and

(B)  caused by a specific event occurring in the course and scope of the employee's employment;

(2)  the preponderance of the medical evidence regarding the attack indicates that the employee's work rather than the natural progression of a preexisting heart condition or disease was a substantial contributing factor of the attack;  and

(3)  the attack was not triggered solely by emotional or mental stress factors, unless it was precipitated by a sudden stimulus.

Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 269, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Proving that your heart attack was directly caused by your job and not a pre-existing condition can be very tough. A situation in which a workers' compensation claim may be in your favor is if you work in a very labor-intensive job like construction. If you were at a site, working in the dangerous Texas heat without breaks, doing extremely strenuous work, and working very long hours, you might have a case. But again, you must also prove that it was your work and not a pre-existing heart condition or disease that contributed to the attack. It is certainly a tough, but not impossible, case to win in court.

If you had a heart attack because of your job, or you were injured in a workplace accident, call Austin attorney Earl Straight. Your first consultation is absolutely free, and he will be able to speak with you about whether or not you have a viable workers' compensation case.