Heat-Related Work Injuries

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), November of 2020 was the fourth hottest November on record, which dates back to pre-1900. November 2021 is looking to compete with last year, too. Whether you live in California, Idaho, Illinois, Florida, or Massachusetts, you have probably noticed that working outside is getting warmer throughout the year.

For people who spend all or the majority of their workdays outside, the rising average temperature of each day can be a real concern. Spending too much time under the hot sun or in a sweltering building, like a manufacturing plant, can cause heatstroke or sunstroke.

Symptoms of heatstroke, sunstroke, or heat exhaustion include:

  • Strong headache
  • Dizziness and balance issues
  • Confusion or grogginess
  • Intense sweating
  • Nausea
  • Rapid pulse
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Cramps throughout the body

If not treated immediately, heatstroke can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. Severe cases of heatstroke can cause bodily damage that takes months to heal fully, meaning a feeling of weakness and wooziness can persist long after the episode has subsided.

When a worker suffers heatstroke while working outside, workers’ compensation should kick in and provide much-needed coverage. As a no-fault insurance system, workers’ compensation covers work-related injuries and illnesses without getting into details about why it happened. As long as the injury was an accident, it is covered.

Employers Refuting Heatstroke Workers’ Comp Claims

More often than you might expect, employers try to refute heat exhaustion workers’ compensation claims. They try to argue that heatstroke should be preventable if the worker drinks enough water throughout their shift. This argument is faulty, though, because it forgets that workers’ comp is a no-fault system and that the employer has a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees, e.g., providing ample work breaks and water, especially when it is a hot day out.

If you suffered from heat exhaustion while working and now your employer or their insurer is making your case difficult for you, then it is time to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney in your area. With their assistance, you can better understand your rights and options.

Injured workers in Chicago can count on McHargue & Jones, LLC for workers’ compensation counsel and representation. Call us at (312) 739-0000 or contact us online if you’d like a no-cost consultation with us. All case evaluations are confidential.