Can I Get Workers' Comp for Skin Cancer?
Many people think that working outside is healthier than working indoors. Outside, you get fresh air, exercise, and vitamin D. Inside, you spend hours sitting in a chair and staring at a computer screen.
However, working outside for extended hours can have its dangers as well, especially skin cancer. Can you get workers' compensation for skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells and create tumors. The three main type of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal and squamous cell carcinoma make up 95 percent of all skin cancer and is highly curable, but can be expensive.
A great way to pay for skin cancer treatment is through workers compensation. However, an injury is only eligible for workers compensation if it is work related. Work related means the injury was caused or aggravated by your work duties or the conditions of your work place.
Certain diseases are so common among certain industry of workers that they are considered occupational disease. In many states, injuries are only covered by workers' compensation if they resulted from an accident. However, occupational diseases, such as black lungs among coal workers, develop over time. So, most states created a category of occupational diseases that are "treated as the happening of an accident" and so compensable by workers' compensation.
Is Skin Cancer an Occupational Disease?
States have varying laws on whether skin cancer is an occupational disease:
- Colorado -- In Colorado, a firefighter killed, disabled, or impaired by skin cancer after working for five years is considered to have an occupational disease.
- Massachusetts -- Skin cancer is considered an occupational disease among fire fighters, state police with the fire investigation unit, members of the state police K-9 unit, and crash crewmen, crash boatmen, fire controlmen, and assistant fire controlmen.
- California -- Lifeguards who work three consecutive months in a year and develop skin cancer during such employment may get workers' compensation for an occupational disease.
If you've worked outdoors and developed skin cancer, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to see if you qualify for workers' compensation.
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