Hypertension: a Compensable Condition
The silent killer: hypertension. So named due to its apparently asymptomatic stealth, high blood pressure does the dirty work that may lead to an enlarged or weakened heart. Other complications can include aneurysms, the narrowing of blood vessels, and the rupturing of blood vessels. Each of these physical events has the potential for even more alarming health crises, including burst arteries, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, vision problems including blindness, necessary amputations, and even death.
If you are one of the roughly 75 million Americans living with high blood pressure, it is important to understand the causes and the potential effects of the condition. Furthermore, if you work in law enforcement, firefighting or corrections for any Florida state, municipal, special tax district or port authority, it is critical that you recognize the connection between your work and your health, and that you understand the state’s responsibility toward you regarding workers’ compensation. The workers’ compensation lawyers at our office have the experience you can rely on if hypertension has impacted your work.
Many individuals experience hypertension on occasion for brief periods of time. Severe mental or emotional stress, or even acute physical demands, may lead to temporary instances of high blood pressure. It could become problematic, however, when multiple blood pressure readings over a period of time display a systolic reading in the range of 140 mmHg OR a diastolic reading in the range of 90 mmHg.
In some instances, hypertension is a secondary condition associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, or other chronic condition. However, essential hypertension is unrelated to other physical ailments. It is frequently related to physical or mental stress or other environmental conditions.
Florida statute protects certain workers who file claims related to hypertension. Specifically, firefighters, corrections workers, and law enforcement officers are called out under Statute 112.18 as deserving special protections due to the mental and physical demands of their jobs. The requirements related to such claims include:
- Being a member of a protected class as noted above;
- Experiencing hypertension and its related health effects;
- Having been declared not to have a hypertensive condition prior to employment;
- Experiencing partial or total disability related to the hypertension.
As an Individual in the Protected Class Experiencing Total- or Partial- Disability Due to Hypertension, What are My Options?
You may be entitled to receive support for medical and rehabilitative services, as well as lost wages. If your physician has documented a physical impairment related to high blood pressure, and if you are a member of the protected class as outlined by Florida statute, your next step is to secure benefits from workers’ compensation. The amount you are eligible to receive depends on several factors, including your salary and the rating of your impairment.
Do not let complex medical records and state regulations get between you and the benefits you deserve. Let the knowledgeable team at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian fight on your behalf. Contact our Tampa office today to schedule a consultation.