With summer fully upon us, we’ve made it to the time of year where the temperature outside often reaches levels that can be extremely dangerous for those not taking the right precautions. This summer has been a particularly hot one already, and here in south Alabama, we don’t expect it to cool down any time soon.
If your job requires you to work outside in the heat, you should be aware of the dangers of heat stroke. Thousands of workers suffer from heat stroke every year, which can be debilitating and even deadly.
If you suffer heat stroke or another heat-related illness, you may be asking yourself, “Can I get workers’ comp for heat stroke?” The answer depends on the situation, and that’s why you should work with a lawyer to make sure you fully understand your rights. Learn about getting workers’ comp for heat-related accidents and how our family at Long & Long could help.
What Is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke occurs when your body overheats and your internal temperature reaches 104 degrees or higher. It’s extremely dangerous as it can lead to serious damage to your internal organs or even brain damage, which can cause disabilities and death.
Most heat-related work illnesses happen to people who aren’t used to working in such hot conditions and fail to take the appropriate precautions. When you’re working in the heat, you should always have water nearby to keep yourself hydrated. Not only that, but you should be aware of the signs of heat stroke and know when your body is telling you to take a break.
What Are the Signs of Heat Stroke?
The signs of heat stroke include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid breathing and uneven heartbeat
- Flushed skin
- A lack of sweat even if it’s roasting hot outside.
You may feel faint or pass out, but that doesn’t always occur. If you are working in high heat conditions outside, it’s important to monitor yourself and your co-workers, and if you notice these symptoms in yourself or those around you, take action immediately.
How Is Heat Stroke Treated?
If you see someone experiencing symptoms of heat stroke, immediately move them to a cool, shaded area. Have them take small sips of cool, not cold, water, and get in touch with emergency services right away. Once they’re stable, you should file an incident report with your boss. Heat stroke can be deadly or cause permanent disability.
Are There Other Heat-Related Illnesses?
Heat stroke is the worst heat illness, but others do exist. These include:
- Heat rash
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat cramps
They can involve excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, and similar symptoms to heat stroke.
So, Can I Get Workers’ Comp for a Heat-Related Illness?
If you suffer an accident or injury from working in the heat during your normal job duties, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Filing for workers’ comp begins when you immediately report the accident or illness to your boss and see a doctor from the list they provide you. Your boss will then submit the necessary paperwork.
Unfortunately, insurance companies look for reasons to deny these claims. Your boss or the insurer may claim that your condition wasn’t as bad as you claim it was or that you had a preexisting condition. If this happens to you, you need to know that you don’t have to fight alone. The right workers’ comp lawyer can help gather evidence to back up your case, such as weather data from the date of the injury and witness testimony from other workers.
Can I Sue My Employer For a Heat-Related Illness?
You cannot, in general, sue your employer if your injury is covered under workers’ comp. In very rare cases, if your employer is shown to have behaved in a severely irresponsible fashion, a personal injury suit may be possible. Before anything else, though, it’s important to speak with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to fully understand your situation.
Our Long & Long Family Is Here For You
Attorneys Earle and Bennett Long are brothers with decades of experience helping members of the Gulf Coast community who need help after suffering an injury or illness that wasn’t their fault. At Long & Long, we put family at the center of everything we do, and when you walk through our doors, we consider you a part of our family. When you need help with your workers’ comp claim, we’re here to help.