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Work injuries may fall under presumption in Maryland

If you're hurt at work, it's likely you'll be treated with access to workers' compensation. What happens when your injury is caused by long-term exposure to an item at work or is due to stress? In this case in Maryland, Maryland law allegedly accepts that cancer may be job-related for firefighters, but Baltimore representatives are arguing that the law is too generous.

According to the story, one woman worked for the Baltimore City Fire Department for 22 years as a firefighter-paramedic. She claims she has breast cancer due to the work she did on the job. The 52-year-old woman has received workers' compensation benefits, but it's fueling arguments about how generous the payouts are. The story claims that Baltimore's government spent $49 million on workers' compensation in 2013, and some people believe the benefits are just too generous. Awards can sometimes exceed $500,000, according to the article, for firefighters, because it's said that they encounter dangerous fumes and chemicals while working.

People who are arguing against the law allowing these payouts claim that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has put out a study that casts doubt on the idea that there is a link between most types of cancer listed in the law and firefighting. There are nine cancers recognized as well as lung disease, according to the story. They include breast cancer, brain cancer, testicular cancer, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as others.

Firefighters are also allowed the legal presumption that hypertension and heart disease are related to the job's stress. This could be extended to state corrections officers in the future. Additionally, this type of law is also used to accept Lyme disease under workers' compensation for those working with park planning or natural resources. Because of the way the law currently works, the employee involved won't have to provide evidence of being injured on the job, which some people dislike.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "New firefighter benefits stoke workers' comp debate" Scott Calvert and Luke Broadwater, Feb. 22, 2014

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