Workmans Comp Question...
I was on a temporary work assignment and suffered a heat stroke. I was taken to the emergency room by an ambulance and treated. My question is, since this happened at work, is the company responsible for the cost of the ambulance and hospital charges?
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ANSWER for "Workmans Comp Question...":
Damon (Lafayette, IN):
Whether your employer is responsible hinges entirely upon whether you were on the job working within the scope of your employment when your heat stroke occurred. Here are three hypothetical examples to explain:
Hypo 1: Edward the Employee was working for Bob the Builder at a job site. Edward forgot his water and did not ask for any. He was assigned to paint cabinets to be installed in a home and Bob the builder supplied an outdoor pop up to provide shade under which the employees could perform their tasks.
Edward chose to drag his cabinets out into the sun claiming they would dry faster. His employer kept admonishing him to do his tasks under the pop-up. During the day he suffered heat stroke.
Hypo 2: Edward the Employee was laying shingles on a roof at a job-site for Bob the Builder. Edward took regular breaks and remained hydrated all day. It was a record hot day, however and within hours, Edward suffered heat stroke.
Hypo 3: Edward the Employee went to the nearest burger joint during his lunch break, sat outdoors and drank a beer. While at his lunch break, he suffered heat stroke.
In hypothetical #1, Edward was working against his employers directions and ignoring safety precautions put in place. Therefore, even though his heat stroke occurred while at work, his employer is likely not responsible.
In hypothetical #2: Edward was working within the scope of his employment and was injured, therefore his employer is likely responsible.
In hypothetical #3: Edward was outside of the scope (i.e. lunch break) and therefore, his employer is likely not responsible.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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