Arizona lawmakers are working to get firefighters help with their workers’ compensation claims for cancer that developed due to their jobs. A 2017 law contained a loophole that has allowed cities across the state to deny firefighters workers’ compensation for cancer treatment. The law was originally designed to help firefighters.
Studies have shown that firefighters are more likely to develop certain kinds of cancer when exposed to various chemicals. The law was designed to ensure that firefighters were able to get medical help and a percentage of their income through workers’ compensation if they were diagnosed with one of these types of cancer.
Unfortunately, the law did not include types of cancer that are often contracted by women, such as cervical and breast cancers. Cities denied coverage to the women who contracted a type of cancer not listed in the law. Additionally, many cities across Arizona denied claims from other firefighters, stating that the contracted cancer was not work-related and should not be covered by workers’ compensation. A new law would have a clause that states that firefighters are not responsible for identifying the carcinogen that caused the cancer and would list more types of cancer that frequently affect firefighters.
Those who protect the health and safety of their community, such as firefighters and other first responders, often do so to the detriment of their own health. Workers’ compensation is designed to provide medical and financial help to those injured or who become ill due to job conditions. A lawyer might be able to help a sick or injured individual get the help they need by filing a workers’ compensation claim. In this case, a female firefighter who contracted breast cancer due to chemical exposure while firefighting may be able to get financial help with medical bills and receive a portion of her income by filing a workers’ compensation claim.