The Maryland legislature has recognized that firefighters are more likely than other types of employees to develop certain cancers (leukemia, prostate, rectal, throat, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, brain, testicular and breast) caused by contact with toxic substances that a firefighter encounters in the line of duty. The law presumes that if a firefighter is diagnosed with the one of the above listed cancers, their occupation was, in-part, the cause of the cancer. These claims are almost always contested by the various local county governments, municipalities, and the State of Maryland.
On January 19, 2018, Dayna Kipnis represented a firefighter in a cancer presumption claim before the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. At 32 years old, the firefighter developed myelofibrosis, a form of chronic leukemia, which caused him to undergo a bone marrow transplant. At the time of the hearing, he had been out of work for over a year and incurred costly medical expenses. The insurance company for the Employer had the firefighter evaluated by a doctor who was the only medical provider to state that the firefighter’s myelofibrosis was not leukemia, or even a form of cancer. After a contested hearing, the Commission issued an Award of Compensation finding that the firefighter’s myelofibrosis was caused by his occupation and ordered the insurance company to pay all of his medical expenses.
The attorneys at Kahn, Smith & Collins stand with the men and women who protect and serve Maryland. Either through collective bargaining, workers’ compensation or employment issues, we fight for the benefits that firefighters deserve.