Heart Attack and Stroke

Unlike physical injuries such as broken bones and lacerations where it is generally easier to determine the cause, heart attacks and strokes are nearly impossible to establish an exact cause. Most people automatically assume that heart attacks and strokes are not work related, and fail to file workers’ compensation claims, when they may actually be entitled to those benefits.
If you or someone you love has suffered a heart attack or stroke while on the job, you need the advice of an experienced New York workers’ compensation attorney. Our work injury attorneys have served as trusted advisors to injured employees and their family members, reducing the stress and complexity of their workers’ compensation cases.

Heart Attacks

Heart attacks, also called myocardial infarctions, occur when the blood flow to the heart is blocked. The blockage could be caused by a number of factors including the buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. Damage to the heart muscle can occur if the blood flow is interrupted for too long.

Heart attacks can be fatal if not appropriately treated. This is why it is crucial to understand the symptoms of a heart attack and seek immediate medical attention if you think you are having a heart attack. While the experience differs from person to person, symptoms of heart attack can include:

  • Sudden dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or squeezing sensations in the chest or arms that may spread to the neck, jaw, or back
  • Fatigue
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn

If you or someone near you is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.


Like heart attacks, strokes occur due to a lack of blood flow. When blood flow to a part of your brain is interrupted or significantly reduced, the brain is deprived of nutrients and oxygen. If not treated immediately, the brain begins to die. Early intervention is critical, so it’s important to understand the warning signs of a stroke:

  • Trouble with speaking and understanding. Those suffering from a stroke may experience confusion and slurred speech.
  • Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg. They may also experience sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes. A stroke victim may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes or may see double.
  • Headache. Strokes are also associated with sudden, severe headaches, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness, or altered consciousness.
  • Walking Difficulties. Stroke victims may stumble or experience sudden dizziness, loss of balance, or loss of coordination.

If you suspect that someone near you is having a stroke, try to raise both arms above their head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, a stroke may be occurring. Another method for determining stroke is to have the victim smile. If one side of the face droops, a stroke may be occurring.

Heart Attack and Stroke at Work

It’s difficult to pinpoint the direct cause of a heart attack or stroke. Most employers will dismiss a workers’ compensation claim because they don’t believe that it is an injury that is work-related. However, New York workers’ compensation law defines injury as “arising out of and in the course of employment.”

Once it is determined that the heart attack or stroke occurred at work and the victim was an actual employee, the victim must prove that there is a causal relationship between the accident and the workplace. If a causal relationship is established, then New York workers’ compensation law provides a presumption that the claim is compensable, absent substantial evidence to the contrary.


It is important to remember that employers and their insurance carriers are out for their own bottom line. You cannot rely on them to act in your best interest. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart attack or stroke while at work, it is imperative that you contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

Our knowledgeable New York workplace injury attorneys work carefully with medical professionals to show how our clients’ work activities contributed to or caused their heart attack or stroke. We have a proven track record of success in getting our clients the compensation they deserve. Contact us today at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!

Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C.
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