I work for a roofing company in Illinois. On August 1st, while driving the work truck back to our shop, I begam having muscle spasms in my hand. By the time we reached the shop, my entire body had erupted into a seizure. My body tensed up and my arms and hands clenched up. My jaw also started to lock up. My employer called 911 and I was rushed to the er in an ambulance. Once I was stabalized and tests were performed, my diagnosis was dehydration and dangerously low potassium levels caused my muscled to cramp which caused a panic attack that sent my entire body into a seizure. My boss did not report this incident to their insurance company and is refusing to file a claim on my behalf to cover my medical bills. I do not have health insurance and now have over $5,000 in bills.
You have a tough case. If you were exposed to extreme heat due do your job then your dehydration could be a compensable work injury or disease. In your facts you did not say why you suffered from dehydration. This is an essential fact that is vital to your claim. You indicate you work for a roofing company. Did something at work that day subject you to conditions that caused your dehydration such as working on a hot roof? If you believe there was some condition that caused this contact a WC lawyer in your state.
This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Without getting too technical to have coverage under your employer's workers compensation insurance your injuries would have to occur as a result of an accident. Therefore, I do not believe your medical bills would be covered. Nonetheless, you should seek out several opinions from attorneys that practice in this area as reasonable attorneys may differ in this matter.
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You absolutely do have a compensable injury unless you were repeatedly offered water or gatorade and refused to drink it. Go to http://www.iwcc.illinois.gov/ and download the Application for adjustment of Claim form. Fill it out and file 6 copies with the Commission. No part of that requires that your boss do anything.
If the claim is disputed, it may be hard to find an attorney because you had no time off work and no permanent injury so you would be hiring a WC attorney to act as a bill collector for the hospital and ambulance.
While NOT a legal defense, any defense attorney will argue that EVERYONE KNOWS about the danger of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, ESPECIALLY tradesmen who work outdoors, which is to say that you were negligent, which you may well have been. Negligence doesn't count in WC unless it involves alcohol or a significant departure from your duties.
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Tough case, but probably technically compensable.
Basically, your job increases the risk to you for dehydration as compared to the general public. However, I'd suspect that your employer would fight this so definitely get a lawyer or try to file it yourself, as Mr. Candiano suggests.
Nothing will make your boss move unless you either hire a lawyer or file an Application.
Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
You would have a valid Workers Compensation claim, if your work that day caused your dehydration. Your employer would be responsible not only for your medical bills , but also any time lost as a result. In addition if you sustained any permanent disability even if only partial you could recover for that also, this would of course be subject to proof, and very likely a hearing before an Arbitrator . Most lawyers including myself are required by law to handle this claim on a contingency , you would pay no fee in no recovery is made , then only 20% of what's recovered and the costs necessary to prosecute your claim.
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Workers' Compensation Lawyer
As you can see, there are varying responses to your question of whether you have compensable injury, Your best bet is to consult with an attorney and find a reputable one who will represent you. As for the bills that are currently outstanding, there are ways for your attorney to have the providers wait for payment pending the outcome of the case. Your primary options at this point are to not file a WC case which leaves you responsible for the medical bills, or to obtain an attorney who will represent you and give you the possibility of making the case compensable.