Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for Heat-Related Illness?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that employers in Texas must purchase to protect their employees. When an employee suffers an injury or becomes sick on the job, he or she is eligible to file for workers’ compensation to receive benefits from their employer while they are out of work. Here is what is covered under workers’ compensation and if a heat-related illness will be covered.
Texas Workers’ Compensation Laws
Under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, employees have a right to recover benefits if they are covered. It also provides the legal right for a legal beneficiary of the employee to recover benefits. The Texas Workers’ Compensation Act is found in the Texas Labor Code, Title 5, Subtitle A.
Workers’ compensation benefits in Texas help injured or sickened workers pay for:
- Lost income
- Medical expenses
- Death benefits
- Burial benefits
Is Heatstroke Covered?
Under workers’ compensation laws, heatstroke is covered in Texas so long as you can prove that it was caused by the work you performed as part of your employment. It’s not uncommon for some people to suffer a heart attack due to heatstroke. Those who are overweight are also susceptible to suffering heat-related injuries and illnesses. Your employer’s lawyers and their insurance company might try to argue that you were more susceptible to heatstroke because of your health, meaning you had a pre-existing condition.
Injuries Caused by Exposure to the Heat
The injuries you can suffer by overexposure to the heat include:
- Heat cramps
- Heat rash
- Heat exhaustion
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines in place that explain how employers are to help employees remain safe when working in the sun or in hot buildings. If the work you perform requires you to be exposed to high temperatures, your employer should:
- Provide employees with cool water close to the work zone.
- Educate all employees about the injuries and illnesses caused by the heat.
- Modify schedules so employees can take breaks in the shade.
- Provide employees with clothing that helps cool them.
- Force supervisors to check with employees who are susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
- Make sure that the work being performed starts out light and then increases when employees are used to the conditions.
Employers are required to make sure that work environments are free from hazards and are safe. This includes being safe from the heat.
Injured on the Job in Texas? Call Thomas J. Henry for Representation
If you are injured or sickened on the job in Texas, you are within your rights to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer must provide these benefits to you while you are out of work recovering from your injury or illness. If you have questions about how to file or want to know why you were denied benefits, call the office of Thomas J. Henry at 866-517-5659 to schedule a consultation today with our workers’ compensation lawyers.