First Responders Fund Will Provide Coverage for Certain Work-Related Cancers

Michigan firefighters and other first responders risk their lives to protect our communities. In addition to the types of acute trauma and injury associated with firefighting and police work, first responders are also exposed to chemicals, smoke, dust, and other substances that can cause occupational illness and disease. At McCroskey Law, we are proud to help first responders who are injured in the call of duty.

On 1/14/2015, SB No. 211 was signed, and given immediate effect. This law sets up a First Responders Fund, which will provide workers’ compensation benefits for those who suffer from certain types of cancers, respiratory, or heart disease that result from the performance of the job duties.

Most importantly, the First Responders Fund will presume that firefighters with specific types of cancer have a compensible injury. In other words, unless there is significant evidence supporting a non-work related cause, firefighters will receive benefits from the Fund for the following types of cancer:

  • Respiratory tract cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Blood cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Lymphatic cancer

However, if a firefighter was a “substantial and consistent user of cigarettes or other tobacco products” within the 10 years preceding the date of injury, the presumption of compensibility may be rebutted.

Please note that the First Responders Fund is not yet funded. While the establishment of the Fund is exciting news for our hometown heroes, the State of Michigan is only in the early stages of setting up the fund and implementing its procedures. The Workers Compensation Agency is currently soliciting comments from firefighters and their families about the implementation and application of SB No. 211. We will keep you posted on new developments regarding the law.

If you or a loved one are a firefighter, and have questions about the new First Responders Fund, contact McCroskey Law today. We will evaluate your workers’ compensation claim, and advise you of your rights under both the new and previously enacted laws. We have offices in Muskegon, Grand Rapids, and Battle Creek to serve you, and initial consultations are always free.

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