The Nevada state legislature has made a major change to the laws that cover heart and lung disease benefits for police officers and firefighters. Senate Bill 153 was changed to expand the protections afforded to these professionals when they have heart or lung illnesses that are debilitating. The legislature has clarified the following:
- A police officer or firefighter doesn’t have to prove that exposure on the job caused a disabling heart or lung disease.
- Employers can’t attempt to prove the firefighter or police officer had a pre-existing condition that caused the illness or that something unrelated to their work caused it.
- Heart or lung disease will be presumed to have started from and during employment as long as the claimant has been continuously employed as a salaried police officer, firefighter, or arson investigator for at least two years on a full-time basis before he or she was disabled.
This presumption applies if:
- The heart or lung disease caused the disability during the course of the claimant’s work
- The disease causes the claimant to quit or retire before serving for 20 years but when the period after leaving work equals the number of years worked.
- The firefighter or police officer stops working after 20 years of service at any time.
SB153 also includes an exception to this presumption that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. It effectively excludes firefighters and police officers from this presumption if they regularly use tobacco products within a year or don’t follow their doctor’s instructions for health care. Employers and insurers can use these circumstances to defend against claims.
If you’re a firefighter or police officer who has heart or lung disease, contact GGRM Law Firm. The laws governing compensation are complicated and may include aspects of both worker’s compensation and personal injury law, and you’ll need an experienced law firm to ensure that your rights are protected. Call us at 702-384-1616 for a free consultation to discuss your situation.