For police officers, firefighters, and other types of first responders in Virginia, the Workers’ Compensation Act creates a presumption that hypertension or heart disease causing total or partial disability is presumed to be an occupational disease suffered in the line of duty. As such, medical and wage loss benefits may be awarded to the officer/firefighter or other person listed in §65.2-402 (B) of the Code of Virginia. This is an additional occupational benefit given by the citizens of the Commonwealth to these workers due to the stressful nature of their job. This is essentially a “thank you” to workers that put their life on the line every day for the rest of us. These are inherently stressful jobs that only a select few of us are willing or able to do.
However, it is important to note that this presumption can be rebutted/overcome by the insurance company if it can be shown that the disability is unrelated to employment. Insurance companies often challenge these claims by trying to show that there are other causes of the heart condition. If you are pursuing a claim for medical and/or wage benefits for hypertension or heart disease, you will likely be asked to provide your past medical history, details about your lifestyle, job history, and other intimate questions. Additionally, the worker/officer/firefighter must also show that the heart condition is disabling in some way. Just having hypertension, alone, might not result in receiving a medical and/or wage award.
If you are considering filing a claim based on a diagnosis of hypertension or heart disease, you should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The Law Office of Darren Shoen has extensive experience in representing police officers, firefighters, first responders, and other injured workers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Call today for a free consultation.
These statements are for general information purposes only and not considered specific legal advice. Mr. Shoen would need to meet with you individually to ensure client confidentiality and would need additional information not provided in this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney directly for legal advice.