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Can You Get Workers’ Comp for a Seizure?

Seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania for a seizure is a more complicated process than other types of injuries, such as broken bones or soft-tissue injuries. Whether or not a seizure at work will be covered by workers’ comp depends on the circumstances. However, case precedent generally holds that seizures are covered injuries if they occur at a worksite.

Work-Related Seizure vs. Non-Work Related 

The question typically asked during a workers’ compensation claim that is filed after a worker has a seizure in the workplace is whether or not the seizure was caused by the conditions of the job. Workers’ comp benefits are available to qualified employees in Pennsylvania who suffer injuries or illnesses while performing tasks within the course or scope of their employment.

If a seizure was caused by conditions of a job, such as exposure to a toxic substance in the work environment, flashing lights or a traumatic brain injury that occurred in the workplace, it will be recognized as a covered injury. A workers’ comp insurance company would have to pay for the worker’s medical expenses and lost wages associated with the seizure in this scenario. 

If a medical evaluation finds that the seizure did not arise from conditions related to work (e.g. it was an “idiopathic seizure,” or one with an unknown cause), it may be more of a challenge to prove the employee’s eligibility for workers’ comp benefits. However, this does not necessarily mean benefits are not available.

What Does Case Precedent Say? 

In Woodard v. Brookshire Grocery Co., a judge found that a worker who suffered a seizure from causes not related to her job was eligible for workers’ compensation benefits after injuring her shoulder in the fall. The plaintiff was a pharmacy technician who suffered an interior dislocation-relocation injury, a bone fracture and a torn tendon after having a seizure while standing at her computer station at the pharmacy counter.

The injured technician, who had to have surgery on her shoulder and missed work during her recovery, filed a workers’ compensation claim that was disputed by her employer. The employer argued that the injury did not arise from her employment since the seizure was not work-related. A judge disagreed and found that her injury was compensable since she had been injured in the course of her employment. 

On appeal, the court upheld the first judge’s decision. The appeals court stated that an accident is considered as “arising out of employment” if the conditions of the job caused the employee to be in the location where the accident occurred. Under this framework, the pharmacy technician’s injuries were covered by workers’ compensation insurance since she was in the workplace and on the clock at the time of the incident.

Prepare for Your Workers’ Comp Claim

If you had a seizure at work and wish to apply for workers’ compensation coverage in Pennsylvania, it is important to hire an attorney with experience in this practice area. A Pittsburgh workers’ compensation lawyer can help you collect evidence to support your case, such as your medical records and expert opinions, as well as case precedent to argue your eligibility for benefits. 

If your first claim gets denied, your lawyer can help you with the appeals process. For more information about seeking workers’ comp benefits for a seizure, request a free consultation at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C.

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