Special Work Comp Laws Applicable to Fire Fighters
A. Contagious diseases
Exposure to contagious diseases while providing medical care at work is considered an injury by accident. NRS 616A.265 (2); testing and lifetime benefits for tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV are covered in detail for fire fighters.
There is a rebuttable presumption of compensability if a fire fighter’s cancer develops or manifests itself out of and in the course of employment after 5 years of employment and the fire fighter was exposed to a known carcinogen and the carcinogen is reasonably related to the disabling cancer. NRS 617.453. This law has a non-exclusive list of known carcinogens and cancers they are associated with. This rebuttable presumption extends for cancer diagnosed after employment terminates for period not to exceed 5 years. The employer can present evidence to rebut presumption. If fire fighter doesn’t have 5 years of employment for the rebuttable presumption to apply, she may still seek occupational disease benefits by proving her cancer is work related under NRS 617.440 (See Evans case.)
C. Heart disease
NRS 617.457 provides for a conclusive presumption that a disabling heart disease is occupationally related for fire fighter with 5 years of continuous, full time employment. A failure to correct predisposing conditions is a defense to the claim. Fire fighter who is partially disabled and cannot work as a fire fighter may elect PT benefits.
Under NRS 617.485, hepatitis is conclusively presumed to be occupationally related of a fire fighter with 5 years of employment, unless the fire fighter had that particular kind of hepatitis when employed as a fire fighter. Fire fighter may elect PT benefits is partially disabled and unable to work as a fire fighter.
E. Lung Disease
Under NRS 617.455 there is a conclusive presumption that a disease of the lungs is occupationally related if the fire fighter has 5 years of employment before becoming disabled. Fire fighters with 2 to 5 years of employment as a fire fighter must show a causal relationship between lung disease and exposure to heat, smoke, fumes, tear gas or other noxious gases in the employment.