In California, there are certain peace officers and first responders who have a right to be compensated for some work-related injuries. It is difficult to defend against these cases because there is a presumption that such injuries occurred while the individuals were on the job.
The California presumption laws cover hernia, heart and pneumonia for police and fire fighters; cancer and leukemia; tuberculosis with demonstrated exposure; blood-borne infectious diseases for firefighters and peace officers; biochemical substances; meningitis; skin cancer for police, fire fighters and lifeguards employed by a municipality; Lyme Disease; lower back issues; and MRSA for police and fire fighters.
There are a number of strategies lawyers use to defend against police and fire work injuries claims. One of these strategies is to show that the sole cause of an injury was not related to the workplace. Another strategy is to look at the amount of time that cancers or diseases take to develop and see if this matches with job exposure time. Other strategies relate to statute of limitations, date of injury and medical records, which do not show industrial cause or exposures.
In 2017, data from the National Fire Protection Association indicated that 58,835 firefighters were injured on the job. More than 50% of these injuries happened while individuals were fighting fires. During that same year, at least 44,530 firefighters were exposed to hazardous conditions including fumes, asbestos, radioactive materials and chemicals. There were 7,345 firefighters exposed to HIV, meningitis and hepatitis in 2017, and 15,340 firefighters were injured while in automobile accidents.
The numbers above demonstrate how common workplace injuries are. When a peace officer or firefighter has suffered a workplace-related injury, such an injury can be significant. It may be important to have a workers’ compensation attorney to help an employee get just compensation.