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Can You File Worker’s Compensation for Dehydration?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Minnesota Worker’s Compensation Lawyer

With the summer heat lasting longer than ever these past few years, it has become even more difficult for those with already physically demanding jobs to work safely. When you work outdoors in the heat and direct sun, dehydration is always a worry. Unfortunately, not all jobs allow the taking of water breaks as often as they are necessary.

When the body becomes dehydrated, it can result in more than just severe heatstroke. It can become responsible for muscle tears, and if the dehydration progresses enough, brain damage. Furthermore, as the effects of dehydration take hold, it can make you even more prone to serious injuries like falls. However, is dehydration cause for worker’s compensation?

If you file a worker’s compensation claim with dehydration as a cause of injury, the unfortunate reality is that the insurance company will be quick to try and deny you. It becomes quite literally a case of drink water on your own time. If a doctor can concisely state that dehydration was a cause of the injury, this can help matters. However, if you partake in dehydrating beverages like alcohol, coffee, or even soda on your own time, it can be argued that you are responsible for rehydrating on your off-work hours and failed to do so.

The most important factors to consider when filing worker’s compensation for dehydration include:

  • Your job must include regular prolonged exposure as part of your work. If you work only partially outside, a claim for dehydration will be more difficult as you technically have access to shade and water. If you were, for example, a roofer, dehydration is a valid claim as you worked outside on a roof where it is naturally hotter for as much as eight hours a day.
  • Dehydration resulted in injuries. It can be said that dehydration itself is an injury, but typically not one you would seek worker’s compensation for. After hours of fluids and rest, you will be back on your feet. However, if the weakness and mental fog of dehydration caused you to fall off a roof, for example, then dehydration can be cited as the cause, making the worker’s compensation case stronger.
  • Proving you re-hydrate after work. If you have problems with alcohol that are documented one way or another, it can be difficult to have a successful case. Furthermore, if you are taking medication that can cause dehydration, it can be argued that dehydration was literally your own fault by the insurance company. It can make cases of worker’s compensation for dehydration accidents very difficult. In this respect, it is best to work with a lawyer to limit these arguments.

Do You Have a Right to Water Breaks?

If your employer is denying you water breaks and it lead to your dehydration and injury, this is a fairly clear violation of your rights as a worker under OSHA. The OSHA regulations state that outdoor laborers must have access to water and a shaded area to rest during their breaks. Unfortunately, while you can file a complaint with OSHA for work conditions, this will have little effect on your worker’s compensation case. In your worker’s compensation case, it is more important to have a doctor’s testimony that dehydration was the cause. However, an OSHA complaint can help prevent these sort of injuries from happening again or to others.

If you are an outdoor laborer who works long hours in the hot summer sun, dehydration is a very serious concern and can cause very serious accidents. If this happens, you deserve worker’s compensation for your injuries, and we can help. If you have been hurt in Minnesota, contact us today. The Law Office of Joshua Borken is dedicated to helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve.