Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to save others. While most workers in Oklahoma can find comfort in knowing that the workers’ compensation program would have their backs if they should suffer workplace injuries or occupational illnesses, firefighters might find it difficult to obtain benefits. Certain diseases are presumed work-related for firefighters, but the claims process could be daunting.
Under Oklahoma laws, respiratory system injuries, heart disease, infectious diseases and development of any type of cancer in firefighters are presumed to be conditions that result from workplace hazards inherent to their occupation. However, claims for compensation can be denied if contrary evidence can be shown. This could significantly complicate the claims process for affected firefighters.
An Ardmore firefighter has resorted to the courts after his workers’ compensation benefits claims were denied twice. He could not continue working as a firefighter after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Firefighters face frequent exposure to cancer-causing agents that are absorbed through their skins. However, his employer asserts that his disease was not necessarily work-related.
Dealing with the financial consequences of cancer is naturally a significant additional burden. Along with medical expenses come income loss and the inability of the firefighter to care for his or her family. It makes sense to utilize the skills of an attorney who has experience in fighting for the rights of Oklahoma workers who suffered workplace injuries or illnesses. The lawyer can discuss the issues with the employer and the insurance providers, and when necessary, pursue an acceptable resolution through the courts.