Project manager proves working conditions caused heart attack
Case name: Bartlett v. State of Illinois, 20 ILWCLB 144 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2012).
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission held that a manager sustained a compensable heart attack due to stressful working conditions.
What it means: In Illinois, a worker is entitled to benefits for stress if the working conditions expose the worker to risks greater than those facing the general public.
Summary: A project manager managed about 30 construction projects with budgets totaling $16 million to $18 million. He encountered several problems with the projects, including disagreements with the contractors and architects, arguments during payout meetings, delays in construction, the project exceeding the budget, multiple change orders, and construction mistakes. During a meeting, a project contractor screamed in the manager's face. He said that he felt his life was threatened. Two weeks after the meeting, and after a stressful workday, which included a long drive to the first job site, a heated two-hour meeting, and an argument with a foreman, the manager suffered a heart attack. The commission reversed the arbitrator's decision denying benefits.
The commission found the manager proved that he sustained an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. The manager's independent medical examiner opined that his heart attack was related to his extreme, job-related stress. The commission found the stress the manager experienced was different from the stress generally experienced by members of the general public and that this continuing stress, over a period of time, affected him cumulatively. The commission concluded that the claimant proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, his present condition of ill-being was causally related to the injuries he sustained on the day of his heart attack.
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December 10, 2012
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