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Cancer and workers' compensation

At some point in their lives, many children across the nation, including New Jersey, will express a desire to be a firefighter. It isn't until several years later that they realize just how dangerous the job is. One state is considering a bill that will include certain cancer diagnoses in firefighters' workers' compensation claims. If it is passed, it could possibly pave the way for similar bills to be passed in other states. 

While out on the job, firefighters come into contact with a wide variety of harmful substances. Some of these things include burning plastic, burning insulation, carbon monoxide or hydrogen cyanide, to name a few. Their gear is designed specifically to limit exposure to these substances, but as of now, it is impossible to eliminate contact entirely. Work continues to be done in an effort to further improve the existing gear and better protect the firefighters who use it.

Prolonged or repeated exposure to these substances could, in some situations, result in a cancer diagnosis. Some of these include types of lung, skin and mesothelioma cancers. This bill has presented ten types of cancer that would be considered job-related injuries. Rather than requiring workers to point out a specific time and place that they came into contact with a harmful, cancer-causing substance, this bill would presume that the diagnosis was job-related. Ultimately, this would make it easier for firefighters to receive compensation for their illness and any resulting medical expenses. 

Making a workers' compensation claim can be complicated and time-consuming, especially for those who are not familiar with the process. New Jersey residents who have been injured on the job and wish to make a claim could benefit from speaking with an attorney. A lawyer can help his or her client understand what documents are needed to file a claim and how to acquire them. 

Source:, "Bill Would Add Cancer As Work Place Injury For Fire Fighters", Kyle Horan, Jan. 25, 2018

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