Firefighter benefits in Nevada workers’ compensation

Firefighters have a lower burden of proof for a work injury for certain health conditions than other injured workers under Nevada workers' compensation laws.

There is a presumption that firefighters have a work-related injury when diagnosed with:

  • contagious diseases, including tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV
    • It is presumed that the disease came from work
  • heart disease
    • If a firefighter who has worked two or more years, it is presumed that heart disease is a result of work
  • lung disease
    • If a firefighter who has worked two or more years, it is presumed the lung disease is a result of work
  • cancer
    • If a firefighter who has worked five or more years, and it is presumed the cancer is a result of work

A firefighter can also be diagnosed with one of the above conditions after his or her employment ends and still obtain workers' compensation benefits.

A firefighter is entitled to all workers compensation benefits if he or she is diagnosed with one of these conditions. Benefits include

Under workers' compensation laws, a firefighter includes a:

  • paid firefighter
  • volunteer firefighter

In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada workplace injury lawyers will explain about:

firefighters workers compensation nevada
Firefighters have a lower burden of proof for a work injury for certain health conditions than other injured workers under Nevada workers' compensation laws.

1. Special benefits for Nevada firefighters

1.1. Contagious diseases

Firefighters exposed to contagious diseases on the job are required to create a report of the exposure.1 With such a report it is presumed that the injury came from work.2 If the insurance company disputes the claim of a work injury, it must show by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the injury is not related to employment.3

A firefighter exposed to a contagious disease is entitled to preventative benefits as a precautionary measure.4

Tuberculosis

A firefighter who tests positive for tuberculosis is entitled to Nevada workers' compensation benefits.5

A firefighter should be tested for tuberculosis at the end his or her employment and three months after that date.6 The firefighter should pay for the costs of the testing.7

Hepatitis and HIV

A firefighter will be tested for hepatitis upon employment and every year thereafter, paid by the employer.8

A firefighter should be tested for hepatitis and HIV within 30 days of the end of his or her employment, and then six months and twelve months after that date.9 The firefighter should pay for the cost of the testing.10

It is conclusively presumed that hepatitis came from work if a firefighter has been employed for five or more years.11

Example: Jeremy worked as a firefighter for six years and developed hepatitis C. He does not know how he contracted it. He is diagnosed with this at a yearly test.

His hepatitis is a presumed to come from work even though he doesn't know how he got it.

1.2. Heart Disease

A Nevada firefighter who has been employed for two or more years and develops a heart disease is conclusively presumed that the heart disease was a result of employment if it is diagnosed and disabling in some way.

The presumption continues:

  • during employment
  • for firefighters who have completed less than twenty years of service, the same number of years after employment as years employed
  • for firefighters that have completed at least twenty years of service, any time in his or her life12

The conclusive presumption does not apply to a former firefighter if he or she:

  • uses tobacco products within one year immediately preceding the claim
  • does not follow a physician's plan in the three months before filing a claim13

A pre-existing heart condition does not prevent a claim of a work-related heart condition.14

Example: Nate is a firefighter and develops arteriosclerosis. He has a stent put in.

Because the condition occurred while Nate is employed as a firefighter, it is considered work-related.

Lung disease

If a Nevada firefighter that has been employed for at least two years and develops a lung disease, it is conclusively presumed that the lung disease came employment if it is diagnosed and disabled in some way.

The presumption continues:

  • during employment
  • for firefighters who have completed less than twenty years of service, the same number of years after employment as years employed
  • for firefighters who have completed at least twenty years of service, any time in his or her life15

A firefighter shall submit to an exam of the lungs upon employment, every two years thereafter until age 40, and every year after that.16 The exam is paid for by the employer.17

Example: Harry was a firefighter for 18 years. Nine years after he retired, he developed COPD.

Because his lung condition occurred within 18 years of his retirement, it is considered work-related.

Cancer

If a Nevada firefighter who has been employed for at least five years develops cancer, it is presumed to be work-related if:

Known carcinogens include:

  • Diesel exhaust, formaldehyde, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with bladder cancer.
  • Acrylonitrile, formaldehyde, and vinyl chloride shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with brain cancer.
  • Diesel exhaust and formaldehyde shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with colon cancer.
  • Formaldehyde shall be deemed to be a known carcinogen that is reasonably associated with Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with kidney cancer.
  • Chloroform, soot, and vinyl chloride shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with liver cancer.
  • Acrylonitrile, benzene, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, soot, and vinyl chloride shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with lymphatic or hematopoietic cancer.
  • Diesel exhaust, soot, aldehydes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.
  • Acrylonitrile, benzene, and formaldehyde shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with prostate cancer.
  • Diesel exhaust, soot, and polychlorinated biphenyls shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with testicular cancer.
  • Diesel exhaust, benzene, and X-ray radiation shall be deemed to be known carcinogens that are reasonably associated with thyroid cancer

The cancer presumption continues after the firefighter stops working. The presumption continues by multiplying three months for every year of work up to 60 months.

Example: Davis worked as a firefighter for 15 years. Three years after he retired, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was exposed to benzene and formaldehyde while employed as a firefighter.

There is presumption that his cancer is work related for up to 45 months (15 x 3). Since the diagnosis is within 36 months, the presumption applies.

2. Who is a firefighter?

A Nevada firefighter includes

  • a paid firefighter,
  • a paid firefighter who also performs voluntary firefighting duties, and
  • a volunteer firefighter. 19

3. Special employment status of firefighters

A firefighter risks his or her life as part of regular work. He or she is also exposed to various dangerous conditions and chemicals that can lead to different diseases.

The workers' compensation laws recognize the risks a firefighter exposes himself or herself to and therefore makes it easier to obtain benefits for certain conditions.

Call us for help...

nevada workers compensation attorneys
Call us for help at 702-DEFENSE

If you or someone you care about is a firefighter who suffered an occupational illness in Nevada, we can assist in filing a workers compensation claim. (For cases in California, please see our page on workers' compensation claims by firefighters in California.)

For a free consultation to discuss your case simply fill out the form below or call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).


Legal References:

  1. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.052(1)

  2. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.265(c)

  3. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.265(d)

  4. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.035(2)(c)

  5. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.052(2)

  6. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.052(3)(a)

  7. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.052(4)

  8. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 617.485

  9. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.052(3)(b)

  10. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.052(4)

  11. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 617.485

  12. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 617.457(1)

  13. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 617.457(2)

  14. Manwill v. Clark County (2007) 123 Nev. 238, 162 P.3d 876, 2007 Nev. LEXIS 34, 123 Nev. Adv. Rep. 28

  15. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 617.455(5)

  16. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 617.455(2)

  17. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 617.455(4)

  18. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 617.453

  19. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.145 & § 616A.150

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