Increased Risk of Cancer for Firefighters

Firefighters put their lives on the line every single day to protect their communities. In addition to the immediate risk of being caught in a fire, firefighters face additional health risks. Constant exposure to smoke and hazardous chemicals puts them at a substantially higher risk of developing cancer.

Those who develop an illness as a result of their line of work may be entitled to compensation. However, employers don’t always make it easy for injured employees to file a claim. Learn more about your rights and what comes next by calling The Dodd Law Firm at 475-275-8649.

What the Research Says

Numerous studies have examined the link between firefighting and subsequent cancer risk. One study, which was covered by the CDC, looked at firefighters in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

The multi-year study found that firefighters had a significantly higher risk of digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers than the general population. Additionally, they developed malignant mesothelioma at a rate twice that of the general population. This may be explained by exposure to asbestos. Younger firefighters experienced higher diagnosis rates of prostate and bladder cancers.

This study also looked at how often firefighters were exposed to fire. More time spent in fires was linked to a greater risk of lung cancer, and the chance of leukemia death increased with the number of fire runs each firefighter went on.

The Firefighter Cancer Support Network also follows research in this area. One study found that cancer caused 66% of firefighter deaths that happened in the line of duty between 2002 and 2019. It was the reason for 70% of line-of-duty deaths in 2016. Their analysis also shows just how much the risk for certain cancers goes up. For example, the risk of testicular cancer is two times higher, and the risk for both multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is about 1.5 times higher.

Is It a Work-Related Illness?

The workers’ compensation system helps those who are injured or become ill while working. If an employee’s illness is caused by their work, they may be entitled to compensation. Under Connecticut law, occupational diseases do qualify for compensation.

The issue is proving that your illness is work-related. While it should be relatively easy to file a workers’ compensation claim, begin receiving medical care, and get partial income repayment, some workers’ insurance compensation providers do make it more challenging.

Compensation for Work-Related Illnesses

The workers’ compensation system in Connecticut provides benefits to injured and ill workers. You may be entitled to medical care for your diagnosis and partial replacement of your lost wages. Surviving family members of someone who dies as a result of an occupational illness can receive survivors’ benefits.

Filing a Claim

In Connecticut, you have three years from the date of your first symptoms to file a workers’ compensation claim. That doesn’t mean that you should wait that long, though. The sooner you recognize worrying symptoms and get them checked out, the sooner you can begin treatment and fight for a good outcome. Additionally, this also allows you to auto-receive benefits sooner.

The process for filing an occupational disease claim is the same as filing a claim for an injury. You will report your illness to your employer, and they will file a claim on your behalf. You will need to submit corroborating documentation and follow the steps laid out by the workers’ compensation insurance provider.

When do you need an attorney? Look for any signs that your employer will refuse to file a claim on your behalf or deny your claim. If they ask leading questions that imply your diagnosis isn’t work-related or try to delay filing, they may be stalling so they can look for a valid reason for denial.

Of course, you’ll also want to consult an attorney if your claim is denied. Cancer treatment costs are extraordinarily high, and you shouldn’t be on the hook for expenses related to an occupational illness.

Start Your Claim with The Dodd Law Firm

When you’re ready to start your claim, we’re here with you every step of the way. Set up a meeting now by calling us at 475-275-8649 or sending us a message online.

Remedies Available to Injured Delivery Workers

The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for delivery services.  The increase of packages delivered this time of the year means that workers doing delivery work are more active than at any other time.  With this increased business, extra hours, and additional stops come an increased risk of injury.

Any employee who is injured during the course of working for a delivery service will likely have multiple legal remedies available.

Workers’ Compensation

The primary type of compensation available to you in this situation is workers’ compensation. The benefit of this system, which is managed by the State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission, is that you don’t have to prove that anyone else caused your injury.

Whether it was an unavoidable accident, your own mistake, or a coworker’s error, you’re entitled to compensation simply because your injury happened at work. As a result, this is often the easiest way to get some income coming in while you get medical treatment paid for by your employer. There are situations where your employer or their workers’ comp insurance company will push back against your claim, but this isn’t common.

What to Do If Someone Else is Responsible for Your Injury

There are limitations to workers’ compensation. It only pays partial income replacement and medical expenses that are approved by the insurance provider. You cannot get full income replacement, pain and suffering, or other types of compensation. However, in certain circumstances, you may be able to seek additional compensation from the liable party.

You may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the liable party if they were a third party. This means someone other than you and your employer. Note that “your employer” includes anyone employed by your company. If your employer caused the accident through unsafe working conditions or a coworker caused your injury through negligence, you cannot bring a personal injury claim against them.

There are several types of third-party claims that may be available to you as a delivery driver:

Third-party claims

In addition to a Workers’ Compensation claim, there may also be the possibility of a third-party lawsuit.  This would be a civil lawsuit against the party responsible for the injury.  These types of cases provide compensation for injuries not included in Workers’ Compensation claims.  Specifically, a civil lawsuit will provide compensation for pain and suffering.  Third party lawsuits that may arise from delivery work may include, but are not limited to:

Dog bite claims

If you were bitten by a dog when trying to deliver a package, you can likely take legal action against the owner. Connecticut is not a “one bite” state. A dog does not have to be proven dangerous before owners are liable for the dog’s actions. Owners are responsible for the harm their dogs cause, regardless of whether it’s their first bite or not. As a delivery person, you are permitted to be on the premises, and you deserve to be safe from aggressive dogs. You can talk to an attorney about your next steps.

Premises liability claims

Homeowners and business owners have an obligation to keep their property safe and navigable for visitors and guests. If your injury was the result of poorly maintained property, you could take legal action against the property owner. Examples include an icy sidewalk that was not properly salted, a crumbling staircase that gave way under your feet, or a stair handrail that was improperly installed.

Auto claims

Delivery drivers spend a substantial amount of time on the road, and that means a greater risk of an accident. If you’re involved in a car accident that is the fault of the other driver, you may be able to sue them for your losses. In some cases, you may also have a claim against the vehicle manufacturer, the municipality that maintains the roads, or another party.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you have a workers’ compensation claim that the insurance provider is refusing to pay out, an attorney can help you prove your case and secure the money you are owed. If you have a third-party claim, your attorney can move forward with a personal injury claim on your behalf.

Contact The Dodd Law Firm Now to Talk About Your Legal Options

Are you ready to move forward with your personal injury claim? Let’s sit down and talk about what comes next. Call the Dodd Law Firm at 475-275-8649 or reach out to us online.

Pre-Existing Injuries and Worker’s Compensation Claims

Under Connecticut law, you can still have a compensable Worker’s Compensation claim to a body part you have previously injured.

Connecticut law only requires a work incident or work activity to be “a substantial contributing factor” in order for it to be considered a viable Worker’s Compensation injury.  There is no requirement that the work incident or activity be the sole or only contributing factor.

An incident or work activity is considered to be a “substantial contributing factor” if it contributes to an injury in more than a minimal way.  This means that if a work incident or work activity increases or worsens a prior injury or condition by a discernable amount, it would a viable Worker’s Compensation injury.

Unsurprisingly, insurance companies frequently contest claims where the injured worker has a prior injury or condition.  For this reason, it is usually advisable to obtain a lawyer to help pursue a claim when prior injuries exist.

Third party cases

If you’ve been injured at work and you have started the process of seeking workers’ compensation, you may have heard the term “third-party claim” thrown around. While a third-party claim is not always an option after a workplace injury, when it is, it can significantly increase the amount of compensation you may receive.

It all starts with choosing the right lawyer for your claim. Get started now by contacting The Dodd Law Firm at 203-272-1883.

What is the Difference Between a Workers’ Comp Claim and a Third-Party Claim?

While both of these types of compensation aim to make you whole after a workplace accident, they are different in several key ways. Workers’ compensation is a type of protection offered to employees who are injured at work, regardless of who is at fault.

It’s essentially a deal between the workers and the company—it protects companies from personal injury claims and ensures that employees receive some form of compensation without having to prove someone else’s negligence. Part of this trade-off is that your compensation is limited. Employees are generally entitled to up to 75% of their average weekly wage and coverage of their medical expenses.

Third-party claims are personal injury claims against someone who is not your employer or anyone who is employed by the company you work for. Like any other personal injury claim, you must prove the other party’s negligence and their role in your injuries.

Knowing If You Can File a Third-Party Claim

Everything depends on who is responsible for your injury. Consider, for example, a conventional office job. One of your coworkers drops a printer on your foot while trying to move it into their office. It shatters several of your foot bones and leaves you off work for weeks, during which you collect workers’ compensation. Since the person responsible for your injuries is a coworker, you cannot bring a personal injury claim against them, no matter how obvious their negligence may be.

Consider another example. You have a sales job that involves driving from client site to client site. One day while traveling between sites, you get T-boned by a negligent driver who was texting while driving. This person does not work for your company but is obviously responsible for your accident. In this situation, you would have a third-party claim.

Some of the parties commonly involved in third-party claims include;

  • Drivers who hit you while you are driving and performing work duties
  • A contractor, subcontractor, or freelancer on a job site
  • The party who owns the property where you are injured, assuming that your employer does not own it
  • The manufacturer of a product that caused your workplace injury

Where Should You Start?

You should generally start with workers’ compensation. The waiting period is much shorter and doesn’t require that you prove negligence, so you can start getting treatment and partial income replacement right away. You can then start the process of a personal injury claim, which may give you the chance to recover more compensation.

Keep in mind that any benefits you receive from workers’ compensation will need to be repaid if your third-party claim is successful. That money is generally repaid from your settlement or court award before you get your portion.

Using an Attorney is the Best Way to Protect Yourself

A workplace injury can leave you stressed and overwhelmed, but you should still move quickly to explore your options. You generally only have a limited time frame to file a personal injury claim, and evidence has a short shelf life. If you don’t gather evidence right away after an injury, you’ll likely lose it forever. If you consult a workers’ compensation attorney, they will be able to look at the details of your case and figure out whether or not a third-party claim is an option for you.

Contact The Dodd Law Firm to Explore Your Legal Options

We’re here to help you as you begin the process of recovering from a workplace injury. Set up a time to talk to our team now by reaching out online or calling us at 203-272-1883. Whether you have a straightforward workers’ compensation claim or a third-party claim, we will be by your side the entire time.