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When may firefighters be eligible for workers' compensation?

Cancer is one of the most serious diseases a person could get. Not only can cancer take a major toll on one's health or even be fatal, but it has a significant recovery period and even the treatments can make a person severely sick. It goes without saying that a person with cancer will be out of work for a long time, if not forever.

Moreover, certain occupations can cause a person to contract cancer. One of these is firefighting. Nevada law recognizes that under certain circumstances, cancer can be considered an occupational disease for which a firefighter could seek workers' compensation. Under Nevada Revised Statutes section 617.453, when a firefighter is stricken with cancer, whether it disables him or her temporarily, permanently or fatally, it will be considered an occupational disease if certain elements are met.

One element is that the firefighter has developed cancer through his or her employment. Another factor is that the firefighter has been working in that profession for at least five years and receives a full-time salary, or is a volunteer firefighter that is able to receive certain statutory benefits. Finally, there needs to be proof that the firefighter was exposed through his or her work to known carcinogens, and the carcinogen is linked to certain types of cancer that could cause a disability.

For example, diesel exhaust, formaldehyde or other carcinogens are linked to bladder cancer. This is only one example, though; per statute there are numerous types of carcinogens that are linked to specific types of cancer, such as brain cancer, colon cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, kidney cancer and liver cancer among others. Some types of compensation for which a firefighter could pursue workers' compensation if he or she meets the above requirements include compensation for medical expenses due to operations and hospital stays pursuant to certain statutes.

Firefighters are true heroes, so when they are stricken with cancer due to their employment, they deserve to be compensated appropriately. Firefighters in Nevada who believe their cancer was caused by substances they were exposed to at work may want to work with an attorney if they wish to pursue workers' compensation benefits.

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