Every day, firefighters put their lives on the line to protect the people in their communities. Far beyond the immediate dangers posed by the blazes they extinguish, firefighters often find themselves facing a latent illness – cancer caused by carcinogenic substances they are exposed to over the course of their hazardous careers. Now, when firefighters develop cancer in the line of duty, Ohio has a cancer presumption that allows them to collect workers’ compensation benefits. A resourceful workers’ compensation lawyer could review the factors surrounding your case and advocate on your behalf. Call and set up an appointment to start discussing your potential legal options.
Ohio Cancer Presumption for Workers’ Compensation Laws
In 2017, Ohio joined 35 other states across the country in recognizing a firefighter cancer presumption, allowing firefighters who develop cancer to make workers’ compensation claims. Currently, Boyk Law represents former Toledo Fire Department Battalion Chief Eric Renzhofer, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2017. Mr. Renzhofer joined the TFD in 1988 and retired in 2009. While he was on the TFD, Mr. Renzhofer worked many years of hazardous duty and was exposed to substances such as arsenic, asbestos, benzene, creosote, diesel engine exhaust, and inorganic lead compounds – all of which are recognized as group 1 or 2A carcinogens.
Under Ohio’s law, when a firefighter who has been assigned to at least six years of hazardous duty contracts any kind of cancer and it has been less than 15 years since he or she was last assigned to hazardous duty, there is a presumption that the cancer was contracted in the course of and arising out of the firefighter’s employment if the firefighter was exposed to a substance classified as a group 1 or 2A carcinogen. This means that in many situations, current and retired firefighters in Ohio are eligible to collect workers compensation benefits for their cancer treatment. Someone who has developed cancer after serving as a firefighter may benefit strongly from meeting with a lawyer who could explain how Ohio’s firefighter cancer presumption in workers’ compensation claims may impact their case.
Factors That May Prevent a Firefighter from Receiving Benefits
The presumption that cancer was contracted in connection with the firefighter’s employment can be rebutted if: there is evidence of exposure outside firefighter duties to tobacco products, other conditions presented an extremely high risk for cancer development were probably a significant factor in causing or progressing cancer, a preponderance of competent scientific evidence shows that the type of carcinogen the firefighter was exposed to could not have or did not cause cancer alleged, evidence shows the firefighter was not actually exposed to a group 1 or 2A carcinogen, the firefighter incurred the type of cancer alleged before joining the fire department, or the firefighter is 70 years old or older.
Talk to an Ohio Attorney if You Developed Cancer as a Firefighter
Ohio’s law means that a firefighter’s cancer is presumed to be work-related unless their employer can prove otherwise. Because research shows that firefighters develop cancer at higher rates than non-firefighters, access to workers’ compensation benefits for their job-related cancer is a way to make sure those who put their lives on the line are treated fairly when they suffer serious health consequences as a result of their service.
If you or a loved one developed cancer after working at least six years of hazardous duty on a fire department and have questions about whether the cancer presumption statute applies to you, contact Boyk Law for a free consultation at (419) 241-1395. We can help you understand Ohio’s presumption of cancer laws for workers’ compensation and what they mean for you