It has been well established that malignant mesothelioma is a significant risk for firefighters. Studies have shown that even brief exposure to asbestos can lead to the rare and deadly form of cancer, and despite increased protections that have been provided for first responders, the need for quick action to protect lives and property often leads to them breathing in the deadly carcinogen that makes up the infrastructure of homes, business establishments and public buildings. When a firefighter is diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, his years of service should merit the immediate provision of the funds needed to help them, but that is not always the case, particular when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits, which shift from state to state. Today the state of Montana put an end to their workers’ compensation rule that precluded firefighters from getting the benefits that they need.
“Presumptive Law” Will Make A Real Difference for Firefighters
The change in Montana’s law signed by Governor Steve Bullock will be of particular benefit to firefighters diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. The state’s first responders have been fighting for twenty years for what is known as a “presumptive law” that makes it easier for them to get benefits when they’ve been diagnosed with specific types of occupational diseases. Montana had been on of only a few states without a presumptive law, and that meant that insurers could easily deny their claims for benefits. Now, as long as a firefighter served for a certain amount of time, a mesothelioma diagnosis is considered a valid workers’ compensation claim unless the insurer can prove that they were not exposed to enough smoke or particles to have caused illness. The law will take effect July first, and extends backwards to 2014.
New Law Protects Firefighters With Numerous Occupational Diseases
In addition to covering malignant mesothelioma, the law will also apply to firefighters diagnosed with other occupational diseases, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancers of the esophagus, brain, lung or breast, colorectal cancer and myocardial infarction. The law’s passage was so important to firefighters that they attended the signing ceremony from all across the state. In addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits, firefighters who are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma may be eligible for compensation from companies responsible for their exposure to asbestos-contaminated products.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information about resources available to you, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.