Widow of Heart Attack Victim May Recover Worker’s Compensation Benefits, According to the Connecticut Court of Appeals

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726216_95316198.jpgThe widow of a man who died from a stress-induced heart attack may claim worker’s compensation benefits, according to a ruling from the Connecticut Court of Appeals. The defendants in Wikander v. Asbury Automotive Group alleged that the plaintiff was ineligible for benefits because she did not file her claim within the time period required by statute. The worker’s compensation commissioner ruled for the plaintiff, and the Worker’s Compensation Review Board and the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment.

The decedent, Thomas Wikander, was an employee of Asbury Automotive Group. He died of a heart attack while on a business trip in Texas on September 25, 2007. The medical examiner determined that stress from Thomas Wikander’s employment played a substantial role in his death. A cardiologist in Connecticut would later concur with this determination.

Thomas Wikander’s widow, Donna Wikander, filed a claim in 2008 for benefits from Texas’ worker’s compensation program. After Asbury denied liability and an attorney informed Wikander that Texas would not grant benefits for a heart attack, she did not pursue the claim. Wikander filed a claim for worker’s compensation benefits in Connecticut in September 2009, nearly two years after her husband’s death. Asbury did not file the form 43 used to dispute liability, so Wikander filed a motion to preclude them from denying liability.