The law, which went into effect on July 7, 2011, provides for firefighters to file a workers’ compensation claim within 11 Â½ years after leaving the job. That is twice as long as the general window given to injured workers, another sign of how long the period between toxin exposure and cancer diagnosis can be.
The law applies to both paid and volunteer firefighters and allows them or their estates to file a claim for medical costs, lost wages and death benefits. To prevail, the claimant must prove that he or she was exposed to certain types of carcinogens while battling fires or dealing with hazardous materials on the job.
In recent months, private workers’ compensation insurance companies that had previously insured cities and towns in Pennsylvania have been dropping the municipalities over the potential costs. The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Frank Farry, called those decisions “disingenuous” because the heads of several municipal trusts did not say during hearings over the bill that insurance would be dropped.
Firefighters perform a dangerous job to rescue us from fires and other emergency situations. When they become seriously ill as a result, they should be compensated for their on-the-job illnesses.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “Municipalities expect increase in firefighter workers’-comp insurance,” Jewels Phraner, Oct. 24, 2012
- Our law firm represents people who became ill due to job hazards. Please visit our Philadelphia workers’ compensation page for more information.