You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who says firefighters aren’t some of the bravest men and women in our society. On a daily basis, they put their own lives on the line to save others from an otherwise fiery end — and yes, sometimes to save cats from trees. Unknown to many, however, is that firefighters often deal with carcinogenic fumes and materials throughout their careers.
In 2016, House Bill 216 was introduced, which would grant workers’ compensation coverage for firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer related to their work. All the firefighter would need to do would need to do is provide “a preponderance” of evidence that their line of work caused the disease. Normally, cancer is considered an “ordinary disease of life,” and therefore not covered by workers’ comp. But, other industries do have some cancers covered by this kind of insurance — for example, mesothelioma from asbestos.
The bill did see some pushback when it was first introduced. Namely, lawmakers wanted to set a higher standard of evidence. However, that was quashed, and the bill passed the House and Senate — before being vetoed by Governor Nathan Deal. His argument was that, by making this exception, it created a costly solution for a problem that was as-of-yet not widespread.
Now, lawmakers are trying to decide who will be in charge of paying for the care, and how. Lawmakers are close to an agreement that would allow firefighters to qualify for private policies, rather than being forced to file state workers’ comp claims. When an agreement is reached, the bill will likely be signed into law by the governor.
If you have suffered an illness or injury at work in Atlanta, and your workers’ compensation claim was denied, you still have legal options. Contact Rafi Law Firm today for a free consultation, during which we will evaluate your claim and advise you on the best way to move forward.