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Posted On 06.17.14 by in Blog
This week we’re exhibiting at the annual Maryland State Firemen’s Association. It’s one of our favorite events to attend because of our strong and ongoing relationship with public servants in Maryland. We’re well known as the “go-to” law firm for workers’ compensation cases involving firemen, police officers, and other public servants and we’re committed to defending the rights of these brave people. It’s our honor to work with those who serve our communities so well.
Firefighters are exposed daily to a work environment that is literally toxic. Beyond the fumes, smoke, flames, and unknown chemical hazards faced in the course of their duties, firefighters have to deal with incredibly high stress work environments, carrying heavy gear in unsafe circumstances, and being exposed to the diseases of others when they act as first responders to disasters. Studies have been done and report the obvious: that working in a situation like that, we would expect to see a much higher rate of injuries, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and infectious disease.
In fact, being a firefighter is so universally recognized as being hazardous that the majority of states, including Maryland, have laws in place that presume certain conditions and diseases are always related to fighting fires. We, along with the firefighters, say these provisions rightly reflect the conditions of the work they do. It’s simply common sense that if a person is repeatedly exposed to toxic fumes and smoke, any lung cancer they develop will likely be as a result of those conditions!
Unfortunately, some governments are fighting back. They say the law is unreasonable and “too generous.” Baltimore’s government is examining the latest findings and seems to be pushing against these protections for firefighters. We want the community and the public servants here to know that we stand behind you. We will defend your rights in court and we support the protections offered by the states for those who are the most in harms way.
In all, there are nine cancers as well as lung disease that are deemed “occupational hazards” for Maryland firefighters who have had 10 years on the job or more. Additionally, like police officers, a higher incidence of hypertension and heart disease are considered to be due to job-related stress. This year the General Assembly is considering legislation to extend that coverage benefit to state corrections officers. We feel it’s the right decision.
We’ve enjoyed decades of representing injured firefighters in court and we will continue to stand with them. We’re grateful for their service and dedication, and we intend to help them whenever we can.
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