Monday, March 26, 2007

House Bill 1008 (UPDATE: signed into law)

This proposed legislation tries to offer presumptive coverage for firemen who develop certain types of cancer. Firemen are exposed to many dangerous or toxic substances... and the bill attempts to shift the burden to insurers to fight a workers comp claim. A major difficulty for injured workers and a major defense for insurers is to assert the burden is on the worker to establish his health problem is related to work activities. Thus with a fall where your back is hurt insurers may allege you had a pre-existing back problem so whatever you have is not their problem. Or if you are exposed to toxic chemicals and develop a disease they say it is up to the claimant to prove it is work related. Then they obtain medical opinions it is unrelated to work or of unknown causality. The expense of fighting for benefits can be high (you may need your own expert at your cost). The bill simply cuts this insurance defense off and forces them to carry the burden where it concerns certain cancers with firefighters. Bravo! Ever since this was proposed it appears the insurers have been fighting it by screaming it is unfair. They assert this even though they can pick your treating doctor and then another doctor to defend themselves. This choice they have prevents fairness and often overburdens the claimant. After all how many company selected doctors will say your cancer came from the company work? Anyway here is a link to the dispute:

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