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Former firefighter seeks workers’ comp for cancer

Ask most in Troy what is covered under workers’ compensation, and the likely response will be injuries that occur on the job. Indeed, this benefit is meant to help those people who are injured at work afford the cost of the care needed to overcome such injuries. While for many companies carrying workers’ compensation benefits is a legal requirement, most are assumed to be happy to offer as a sign of the care they have for their employees. Yet at the same time, employers do not want to be taker but advantage of and made to pay for a benefit that members of their staffs then attempt to abuse. 

One might think that an employee citing an illness or chronic condition as something that should be covered by workers’ compensation as an attempt at such abuse. Yet some states do indeed have statutory requirements that mandate such benefits be offered in the event of an illness. Oklahoma, for example, offers such coverage to firefighters who become disabled due to cancer. Yet a firefighter from the state is currently suing the city that once employed him for denying this benefit. Despite genetic testing indicating that the man was not predisposed to developing cancer, the city continues to insist that it be proven that his job caused the condition. 

In this case, the law affords it that opportunity, as the same statute that provides workers’s compensation to firefighters with cancer also states that such benefits can be denied should evidence exists that shows one’s condition was not career-related. If a company or benefits representative believes that a claimant’s condition is not due to their job, they have the right to question the need for benefits. Those looking for assistance in such a situation may find it in the form of an attorney.