Firefighters have a stressful career. They can face hazards and dangers each day that most people never face in a lifetime. For that reason, firefighters may have a higher risk of developing one or more conditions, including heart disease. The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Statute addresses the stress and risks firefighters face in their jobs by making some diseases a presumed illness.
Even though the state’s workers’ comp laws may address the increased risk of heart disease for firefighters, that does not mean you will automatically receive benefits if you file a workers’ comp claim. The Pinder Plotkin legal team fights for the rights of firefighters to receive the workers’ comp benefits they deserve. Call for a free consultation with one of our Maryland workers’ comp attorneys.
Workers’ Comp Benefits for Firefighters in Maryland
Some workers’ comp claims by firefighters in Maryland are treated differently from the claims of other workers’ who might be injured at work. One difference is the presumption that heart disease was the result of a work-related illness. Workers’ comp does cover some occupational illnesses. However, it is up to the employee to prove that a work-related condition caused the illness.
Because firefighters are under an enormous amount of stress because of their job, the law presumes conditions related to their job caused the heart disease. They do not need to prove that their job caused the heart disease. However, they do need to prove that the heart disease has caused a disability or permanent impairment to recover workers’ comp benefits.
The presumption that their job caused the heart disease makes it a bit easier to collect workers’ comp benefits for an occupational disease. It does not guarantee benefits. Our Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers help firefighters who have been denied their benefits after a diagnosis of heart disease. If you are a firefighter diagnosed with coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, or other heart condition, call now for a free consultation.
Benefits for Permanent Disability Caused by Heart Disease
If you suffer a permanent impairment because of heart disease, you may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits. As a firefighter, you are entitled to receive a higher compensation rate compared to other workers who may suffer the same type of injury. Your permanent partial disability is calculated using a higher tier, which results in a larger payment than other workers receive.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
As a firefighter, it is important to recognize the symptoms of heart disease and seek medical care. Some firefighters may not see a doctor when they notice signs of heart disease. Ignoring the signs of heart disease could result in a life-threatening condition or episode.
Therefore, if you notice any signs of heart disease, including but not limited to the signs below, see a doctor immediately:
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or weakness
- Pain in the chest or arm
- Tightness or heaviness in the chest or arm
- Irregular or rapid heartbeats
- Pounding in the chest
- Indigestion or feelings of heartburn
Filing a Claim for Heart Disease as a Firefighter
As with any other type of workers’ comp claim, you need to file a claim if you are diagnosed with heart disease after working as a firefighter. In addition to firefighters, firefighting instructors, advanced life support unit members, and rescue squad members may also be entitled to the occupational disease presumption. Volunteer firefighters may also be covered by the statute.
Retired firefighters may also be entitled to workers’ comp benefits for a diagnosis of heart disease. The development of heart disease after retirement does not necessarily bar an individual from receiving compensation under the workers’ compensation statute for firefighters.
The presumption that the heart disease is a result of the firefighter’s job can be challenging. There are instances in which a firefighter could have developed heart disease that are unrelated to the firefighter’s job. As stated above, an employer or insurance provider can dispute the claim that the firefighter’s job caused the heart disease.
Working with an experienced Maryland workers’ comp attorney can help alleviate the stress of fighting for the workers’ comp benefits you should receive for an occupational disease after serving as a dedicated firefighter in Maryland. The Pinder Plotkin legal team fights for your right to receive all workers’ comp benefits available for firefighters under Maryland’s workers’ comp laws.
Contact Our Maryland Workers’ Comp Attorney for More Information
If you are unsure whether you are entitled to receive compensation for a heart disease claim, contact Pinder Plotkin LLC by calling 410-661-9440 to schedule your free consultation with a Parkville workers’ compensation attorney.