Workers' Compensation & Heat-Related Illnesses
While Florida isn’t a stranger to warm winters and hot, humid summers, it’s important to remember that prolonged exposure to heat and humidity can lead to serious illnesses and tragic fatalities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 600 people die from heat-related illnesses each year.
Due to Florida’s subtropical climate, temperatures frequently reach levels that can be harmful to human health. Employers need to take extra care when their employees are forced to work in extreme conditions. If an employee does sustain a heat-related illness, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Your Rights as an Employee
Workers’ compensation provides benefits that facilitate an employee’s recovery process while mitigating their financial losses. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps – these probably aren’t the first types of injuries that come to mind when you think about filing for workers’ compensation. But you may be able to receive benefits if you can prove that working outside in the hot son either aggravated or directly caused your illness.
Of course, there are countless other factors that can contribute to a heat-related illness. For example, obesity can lead to a higher risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Your employer (or their insurance company) may challenge your claim and hinder your access to benefits by arguing that your injury was caused by a preexisting condition. If your employer denies your claim, it’s likely because they don’t want to pay increased premiums. Likewise, an insurance company is just like any other business – their goal is to make and save money. They may try to deny your benefits just to minimize the payout. If your claim has been denied, it’s important to contact a qualified workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Protection from the Sun
When temperatures rise, employers need to acknowledge that exceptional circumstances necessitate adapted responses. Employers can prevent heat-related illness by providing their workers with adequate shade, water, and extended breaks. They can also rearrange work schedules so that any outside work is completed before the afternoon heat hits.
Workers can also take the following measures to protect themselves:
- Wear suitable clothing
- Apply sunscreen
- Stay in cool locations, if possible
- Drink water as often as possible (especially before the shift starts)
Your employer’s failure to protect you from extreme heat conditions could result in a workers’ compensation case. Contact Van Dingenen Law if you’ve suffered a heat-related illness while on the job. Our compassionate and trial-tested attorneys have been representing injured workers and their families since 2003. You can trust that we have the experience and legal resources to secure a positive case result that yields essential damages under the law.
Call our workers’ compensation lawyers in Central Floridaat (407) 967-5377 to schedule a consultation.