A caller to my office wanted to know if he had a case. The gist of the situation is that he passed out at work and has been off for eight weeks. When he passed out his blood pressure was around 235/120 and he had extreme dizziness. He hit his head when he fell giving him a slight concussion.
No two work injuries are the same although many have similar fact patterns. In every case a good lawyer will analyze all possible issues to make sure that they aren’t telling you that there is no case when there actually is one. This fact pattern is a good example of that.
Generally speaking, having high blood pressure, even if you have a stressful job, doesn’t end up being a workers’ compensation claim. You’d have to show something really unusual happened to you such as having to work in extreme hot or cold temperatures or doing a lot of heavy lifting. Another way this could be a case would be if something physical happened such as a mean boss poking you in the chest while they screamed at you.
There are plenty of other exceptions that could make this a case so talking to the injured worker is the only way to find out if something is there. In this case, he had no extreme risks or anything physical or unusual that lead to him passing out. He’s a smoker and overweight which is likely the cause of his high blood pressure.
But he still has a case.
As I said earlier, you have to analyze every possible angle. In this case, the worker was up on a ladder when he passed out, falling about seven feet when he fit his head. The concussion is the reason he hasn’t been back to work. So while the job itself didn’t cause him to pass out, there’s an old legal saying that your employer “takes you as they find you.” They put him up on a ladder which leads to an increased risk of an injury that the normal public doesn’t face.
It so happens that he wouldn’t have had such a bad concussion if he wasn’t up on the ladder. In fact, he’s lucky he’s not dead or seriously brain damaged.
So while the first part of the analysis was that there was nothing to go on, the deeper analysis shows us that this is definitely a case.
Sadly he had talked to two other attorneys who told him that because he was overweight there was nothing that they could do for him. They were wrong and when I looked them up they appeared to be Chicago lawyers who only dabble in workers’ compensation law. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but if you don’t focus on it you can make mistakes like they did.