As a firefighter, you regularly put your health and safety on the line for California residents. Due to work conditions, you may have an increased risk of developing heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, mesothelioma, high stress and cancer.
California law takes public safety officers’ inherent dangers into consideration, and includes certain presumptions for firefighters seeking workers’ compensation. If you are diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. What should you know about California’s worker compensation system?
A heightened threat of cancer
Unfortunately, firefighters have to worry about more than just the flames they battle. Recent studies report that firefighters are twice as likely to develop certain cancers then the general population.
This heightened risk derives from a number of factors, including the high quantity of synthetic materials in common household items. The synthetic materials release hazardous chemicals and carcinogens when they burn. California Technical Bulletin 117 also increased the risk of cancer by requiring all foam-filled furnishing to contain toxic flame retardant chemicals.
Cancer is presumed to be occupationally caused
In California, the law presumes that firefighters who develop cancer or leukemia developed the disease due to their occupation. Both paid and volunteer firefighters are eligible for benefits.
In order to collect benefits, the firefighter must prove that they were in contact with carcinogens during their period of employment. They also must report the injury within a specified amount of time after leaving service. They have three months for every full year of service, up to a maximum of 120 months in order to file a workers’ compensation request.
Speak with a lawyer about workers’ compensation benefits
While California’s worker compensation system is favorable towards public safety officials, it is still a complicated process. It can be especially difficult for firefighters to prove that they were exposed to a known carcinogen while employed.
Speak with an attorney who can help you navigate the complex workers’ compensation system and advise you on how to proceed with your case. You have fought for the community; now let others fight for your rights.