Cancer is a leading cause of death among firefighters, and research suggests a higher risk of certain types of cancers for this occupational group compared to the general population.
For this reason, in 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor announced an update in the Federal Employees' Compensation Program that will streamline claims processing for firefighters with certain occupational diseases, including cancer.
The program changed its policy to ease requirements for evidence provided by firefighters to connect their toxic exposure with certain diseases.
Every year, the department's Office of Workers Compensation Programs receives roughly 2,600 compensation claims from firefighters. Approximately 175 of these claims include conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. In the winter of 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the Fairness for Federal Firefighters Act, identifying that certain conditions will be presumed to be work-related for "federal employees in fire protection activities." The list of presumptive conditions includes but is not limited to various cancers.
However, firefighters are often having a difficult time accessing workers' compensation. This is a common occurrence even though all 50 states have laws that presume that at least some cancers in firefighters are work-related, which should make it easier for them to qualify for benefits. For instance, California has one of the nation's strongest "presumption" laws, covering all types of cancer. Still, that has now stopped local governments from denying or delaying workers' compensation benefits, which cover health costs and paid time off for treatment and recovery.
Presumption laws for firefighters imply that workers' compensation claims will be instantly approved for eligible conditions such as cancer. Nevertheless, the laws allow employers to challenge claims as not job-related. Officials say they must evaluate cases thoroughly, often engaging in lengthy investigations, to protect taxpayer dollars. Firefighters say the denials are not justified in light of presumption laws and the mounting evidence of the association between firefighting and cancer.
Nonetheless, if you are a firefighter whose workers' compensation claim has been denied, a toxic exposure attorney can help you obtain this benefit. Firefighters should also know that if they worked with the fire suppressant AFFF and developed cancer, they might be eligible to file a claim with the responsible manufacturers and with the VA for disability compensation if they are military firefighters. With over 35 years of experience in evaluating toxic exposure cases, our expert team can efficiently help firefighters obtain the money they are entitled to.
Atraxia Law has the necessary experience, resources, and knowledge to help civilian and military firefighters obtain financial compensation if their cancer is the consequence of AFFF exposure. The only documents we will request are your employment or military records and your medical records. We will offer you a free case evaluation. Eligible firefighters will be put in touch with a reputable, trustworthy attorney.