Given the fact that firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics have some of the most stressful jobs in existence, it should come as no surprise that numerous medical studies have confirmed that firefighters have a high rate of death from cardiovascular causes and the most frequent cause of death among firefighters is heart disease. A recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine has indicated that cardiovascular events, largely due to coronary heart disease, account for 45% of deaths among firefighters on duty!
On account of these risks, the Illinois legislature included specials protections under section 6(f) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act which provides special protections for first responders who suffer heart attacks as follows:
“Any condition or impairment of health of an employee employed as a Firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedic which results directly or indirectly from any bloodborne pathogen, lung or respiratory disease or condition, heart or vascular disease or condition, hypertension, tuberculosis, or cancer resulting in any disability (temporary, permanent, total or partial) to the employee shall be rebuttally presumed to arise out of and in the course of employees fire fighting, EMT or paramedic employment and further shall be rebutally presumed to be causally connected to the hazards or exposures of the employment. This presumption shall also apply to any hernia or hearing loss suffered by an employee employed as a Firefighter, EMT, or Paramedic, however, this presumption shall not apply to any employee who has been employed as a Firefighter, EMT or Paramedic for less than five years at the time he or she files an Application for Adjustment of Claim concerning this condition or impairment with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The finding and decision of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission under only the rebuttal of presumption provision of the subsection shall not be admissible or be deemed Res judicata in any disability claim under the Illinois Pension Code arising out of the same medical condition; however, this sentence makes no change to the law within Krohe v. City of Bloomington, 204 Ill. 2d 392.”
As a result of the foregoing, it is much easier for firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics to win workers’ compensation claims based upon bloodborne pathogen, lung or respiratory disease or condition, heart or vascular disease or condition, hypertension, tuberculosis, or cancer in the course of their employment. Please contact Attorney Brent Eames if you’re looking for someone experienced in representing first responders who suffer heart attacks to discuss these issues in greater detail.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.