Saturday, November 28, 2009
Firefighter cancer on the job case
While there have been no recent court cases involving work injuries in Colorado there is always activity at the ICAP level (Industrial Claim Appeals Panel). Colorado not that long ago passed a law to help firefighters who develop cancer while employed. Trying to prove you contracted cancer from exposure to the toxic substances involved with firefighting had been very difficult. The legislature decided to make it easier on firefighters so they passed a statute that created a presumption that getting certain types of cancer would be considered an occupational disease. In a recent ICAP case the local judge heard the testimony of 3 experts brought in by the insurer and ruled they had overcome the presumption. The firefighter appealed to ICAP and at that level it was decided the insurers' experts were really attacking the premise of the statute itself rather then providing evidence as to how the claimant did not get the disease from his occupational exposure. Not sure if the case will go to the next level but it reminds me of the old arguments made by the tobacco companies to assert that cancer did not come from smoking. There is no link to read the case (ICAP decisions are not published on the web for free) but the statute we are discussing here was mentioned in this prior blog post.