School Bus Driver Has a Stroke While in School Bus upon Inhaling an Unidentified Smoke/Substance Causing or Contributing to His Stroke
So, in this set of facts, is this a job injury? The Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation said NO, it was not an aggravation. Claim denied.
Was the stroke caused by the driver being on the bus? The Appellate Division said NO. Did the work duties significantly contribute to the medical problem of the bus driver? The Appellate Division said NO.
Man alive, this seems harsh. The Appellate Division required the injured bus driver and his lawyer to prove that the exposure on the bus to the smoke CONTRIBUTED to or aggravated his stroke.
Case law allowed the Appellate Division to consider whether an employee’s existing work factors alone caused his stroke and how many of those factors were caused by his work. Could the worker establish that any of these job factors aggravated his condition to cause his stroke.
There is a very fine line between being able to establish a compensable heart attack (stroke) case for workers’ compensation benefits and whether it just will not work.
The other problem in this case was that the Appellate Division’s decision was “airtight” and by law and precedent, was not able to be overturned by the Superior Court.
I have heard many lawyers on insurance defense side say that they always, always, advise their insurance company clients to deny ALL heart attack/stroke cases. PERIOD. (Sounds like a great thing to tell the spouse and kids at the dinner table later that evening!)
Do not let an insurance company denial be a final decision on your part, until you speak to a lawyer. Honestly, I have won, and lost heart attack/stroke cases and it truly depended on the fact and the cardiologist’s expert opinion on causation.
I represent people injured on the job or in an automobile accident in Suwanee, Georgia. I have many years of experience and enjoy in representing people in their workers’ compensation claim or automobile accident cases. I also represent people in their Social Security Income Disability claims.