Quadriplegia made heatstroke foreseeable

A quadriplegic who suffered severe heatstroke when his caregiver left him in her car on a hot day was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for the stroke as a compensable consequence of the workplace injury that paralyzed him in the first place, the South Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled. In disputing the claim, the workers’ comp insurer argued that both the claimant’s decision to ride in his caretaker’s non-air-conditioned car on a scorching day and the caregiver’s negligence constituted unforeseeable intervening acts that broke the chain of causation.

But the Court of Appeals disagreed, affirming decisions by both the Circuit Court and the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Gary Poliakoff (pictured) of Spartanburg, who represented the claimant, called the ruling a

“good affirmation of workers’ compensation being applied as the law says it’s supposed to be.” Both statute and case law mandate that workers’ comp claims be liberally construed in favor of compensation, Poliakoff said