A truck driver who suffered a heart attack while on the job said the physical stressors of the job contributed to his heart attack, and a Tennessee Supreme Court agreed.
On October 21, 2011, truck driver Curtis Marvel was securing a load of steel coils when he began experiencing chest pains. Marvel continued securing his load and set out for his delivery; however, just a short time later, Marvel was forced to pull into a truck stop when his chest pains worsened.
Marvel was transported to a Tennessee hospital where it was determined he had experienced a heart attack. Doctors placed a stent in one of Marvel’s coronary arteries and he spent 5 days in the hospital.
Upon his release, Marvel was discharged from his job after he was told by Roane Transportation he was “medically unable” to drive.
Marvel applied for worker’s compensation benefits; however, his claims were denied on the basis the injury wasn’t work related.
“In February 2012, Mr. Marvel filed a complaint for workers comp benefits against Roane Transportation in the Circuit Court of Sevier County in Sevierville, Tennessee, records show. The case was heard in April 2014,” Business Insurance states.
During that time, Marvel’s health contented to deteriorate. Because of ongoing chest, arm and leg pains, Marvel was unable to work or exercise. He gained weight and developed diabetes.
Marvel testified that he did not experience symptoms of a heart attack in the days leading up to the heart attack. His doctor testified that physical stress can increase the chances of experiencing a heart attack.
A cardiologist testified that there is no way to definitively say whether or not Marvel’s physical stress attributed to the heart attack, though he stated, “emotional stress of driving a large truck while experiencing chest pains could have accelerated the onset of (his) heart attack.”
A circuit court sided with Marvel and he was declared permanently and totally disabled. During an appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel also agreed and ruled in favor of Marvel.