Workers’ Compensation Win for Firefighter Could Set Precedent
State workers’ compensation boards have strict requirements. They will do whatever they can to deny a person’s claim. This can be frustrating to those who have been injured on the job, cannot work and are in dire need of financial compensation so they can pay the bills.
Many give up after they are denied, but not a firefighter from Texas. The 39-year-old fire captain was denied workers’ compensation benefits after he was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. The city of Houston had denied his claim because they claimed that his cancer was not related to his work.
Thanks to his precedent-setting win, the firefighter can now seek treatment for his cancer at the world-renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He will also receive $60,000 in back pay for missing work. The city had denied his claim more than a year ago.
The money will help ensure the man’s wife and young daughter are cared for. But not all firefighters with cancer are so lucky. In fact, between 2012 and 2018, a whopping 91% of workplace-related cancer claims were denied. This is due to a 2005 law state law, which states that the government can presume that a firefighters’ cancer was caused by workplace exposure to chemicals when the worker has testicular cancer, prostate cancer or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
However, the ruling in favor of the fireman rejects this notion. In fact, the state senator who wrote the law claims that the law was meant to cover any type of cancer due to firefighting.
Initially, a judge with the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation ruled in favor of the city. In April, a doctor claimed that the man’s cancer was caused by his family history. In the appeal, however, a connection between the man’s cancer and his family history could not be established. The cause of his illness could not be identified.
While the firefighter is thrilled to finally see his claim get approved, he is still cautious. The city has the ability to sue him in state district court. He could see his benefits denied. It has happened before, when the City of Baytown once took a cancer-stricken firefighter to court.
Winning an appeal is very rare. Only 10% of appeals are successful. In addition, since 2016, the city of Houston has denied 100% of workers’ compensation claims from firefighters. Given this, the firefighter in this story had a very slim chance of prevailing, but he did. He did not give up even when things looked bleak. If you have a workers’ compensation claim that has been denied, keep fighting with help from a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Receiving compensation for a work-related injury often requires jumping through a lot of hoops. The process can be complex and daunting, but don’t give up. With the right legal help, you can obtain the benefits you deserve.
Have you been denied workers’ compensation benefits? Are you ready to file an appeal? Don’t give up. White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon can help. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (914) 228-1770.