Earlier this month, the Georgia House of Representatives just passed Georgia House Bill 152, which would presume workers’ compensation coverage for firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer. According to an industry news source discussing the Georgia bill and other similar bills in other states, the House Bill will now move on to the Georgia Senate. A similar bill passed both houses last year before Georgia Governor Nathaniel Deal vetoed it over concerns that the research supporting the link between cancer and firefighters’ exposure to harmful chemicals was too speculative.
This article is the most recent evidence of the movement across the nation for states to increase firefighters’ workers’ compensation benefits to include certain types of cancer. Supporters of GA Bill 152 and other similar bills point to the host of synthetic materials that are used in the construction of modern-day homes, which when burned, release harmful chemicals that can cause cancer and other serious illnesses.
The specific issue addressed by House Bill 152 is whether these certain types of cancer should be presumed to be “work related.” Currently, cancer is not considered to be a work-related disease, and it is not covered under firefighters’ workers’ compensation policies. This leaves firefighters with few options to seek compensation after being diagnosed with cancer.
Interestingly, while House Bill 152 is silent on the issue, other bills across the country are pushing for coverage of diseases including post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Routine and repeated physical and emotional stress on the human psyche has recently been linked to PTSD, which can manifest itself through a host of symptoms, including irritability, hostility, hyper-vigilance, severe anxiety, and social isolation.
The Importance of Workers’ Compensation Coverage
The Georgia workers’ compensation program is incredibly important for Georgia employers as well as employees. The program offers injured workers a means of obtaining short- or long-term benefits while they recover from a workplace accident. The program also benefits employers because employees who are eligible for and receive workers’ compensation benefits will not be permitted to seek additional damages from their employer in most cases because the workers’ compensation benefits will act as the injured employee’s sole remedy.
Anyone injured in a Georgia workplace accident should discuss their situation with a dedicated Georgia workers’ compensation attorney to determine if they may be eligible for benefits.
Have You Been Hurt in an On-the-Job Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia workplace accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits while you recover. The skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at the law firm of J. Franklin Burns, P.C. have decades of collective experience representing their clients in all types of workers’ compensation proceedings across the State of Georgia. Call 404-920-4708 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney today.