Illinois Supreme Court Rules After-Work Heart Attack Covered by Workers Comp

March 28, 2005 ( - The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a man who had a heart attack after work is eligible for workers compensation benefits.

>In January 1997, an asbestos removal worker helped move 500 to 700 bags – each weighing in at 45 pounds – down a flight of stairs.. When he went back to his hotel, he experienced chest pains and other heart attack symptoms, and was taken to a hospital by an ambulance.

>He then filed a workers compensation claim. However, his employer argued before an arbitrator that the man’s heart attack did not result from his employment. The arbitrator, with the Illinois Industrial Commission in agreement, ruled that the man’s attack did in fact stem from his employment.

>In ruling, the state Supreme Court overturned the decision of an Appeals Court, which in turn had overruled the arbitrator’s decision. The Appeals Court has said that the worker was susceptible to a heart attack and failed to show the connection   between his work and the injury. The state Supreme Court, however, ruled that his work aggravated or accelerated his pre-existing condition, and was thus a cause of the heart attack.

>The case was Twice Over Clean v. The Industrial Commission; the opinion is available  here .