Firefighters have long complained that a state law meant to assure their bills are paid when they get work-related cancers isn’t helping the way it should. And a state review says they’re right.
The law says that when firefighters get leukemia as well as breast, pancreatic, prostate, rectal and throat cancers, they should be presumed to be the result of their work. But the Workers Compensation Commission and Virginia courts also require them to prove exposure to a specific cancer-causing material that’s linked to their specific cancer. Being unable to show that led to seven decisions denying workers comp benefits to firefighters with cancer, out of 20 cases the commission considered between 2008 and 2019, analyst Drew Dickinson told the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission Monday.