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