Stimulus-Causing Physical Injury
The heart attack of a worker who experienced a “panic attack” after a malfunctioning elevator’s series of “drop and catch” episodes, was found compensable in Speed v. Securitas USA, 989 So. 2d 710 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008).
The claimant worked as a security guard and on the date of the incident was assigned to secure one of the employer’s facilities. The elevator in which the claimant was riding malfunctioned, resulting in a series of “drop and catch” episodes. The claimant suffered what he described as a panic attack and reported to a colleague that he felt chest pain. After the chest pain persisted, the claimant went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a mild heart attack. The claimant’s independent medical examiner (IME) testified that the major contributing cause of the heart attack was the elevator incident.
The employer and carrier denied the claim on the basis that Florida does not allow recovery for “mental-mental” claims. The JCC agreed, finding that on the basis of the claimant’s description of experiencing a panic attack, he had sustained a mental or nervous injury that was not compensable. The court of appeal reversed, holding that it was undisputed that the elevator incident, a workplace accident, was the cause of claimant’s heart attack. See Ch. 56, § 56.02 n.23.1. http://www.lexisnexis.com/community/workerscompensationlaw/
© Copyright 2010 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. This material is excerpted from Larson’s Workers Compensation Law. Reprinted with permission.
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