Firefighters in North and South Carolina are hoping their respective residences will follow the lead of 33 other states and pass legislation to include coverage for occupational illnesses in the workers’ compensation system.
Workers’ compensation in South Carolina provides benefits for workers who were injured while on the job. Currently, employees in the two Carolinas are not legally entitled to compensation if they develop an illness as a result of performing their professional duties. Workers who fall victim to a work-related disease must pay for treatments through their own insurance policies, and do not receive any additional resources through their employer.
Firefighting is one profession that is especially vulnerable to developing occupational illnesses over time, particularly certain types of cancers. Smoke inhalation, for example, exposes firefighters to a number of carcinogens. Firefighters are also exposed to various toxic substances that can enter the body through the skin, such as asbestos, when on the job. According to a FOX 46 profile on a Charlotte firefighter, there are certain types of cancer (such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and mesothelioma) which disproportionately affect firefighters in comparison to other professions.
Research that demonstrates the link between firefighting and occupational disease is prevalent, yet the South Carolina legislature has been slow to adopt laws that would allow coverage in the state’s workers’ compensation system. Currently, there are 33 states that label cancer as an occupational risk for firefighters, and provide benefits for treatment through workers’ compensation.
Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC is committed to protecting the rights of workers in South Carolina who were injured on the job. After a work accident, you could be able to receive benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation system — benefits that could alleviate the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys to learn how our firm can help you after a work accident.
To speak with our skilled legal team, call (843) 968-0886 or send us a message through the form on our website.