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.