Updated Workers Comp Law Allows “Wage Loss” for Ohio Firefighters

In April 2017, the Michael Louis Palumbo, Jr. Act passed in the state of Ohio. The measure set forth the presumption that firefighters diagnosed with cancer acquired the disease due to their exposure to carcinogens in the performance of their work duties. In late September of the same year, the law was expanded to provide working wage loss for firefighters due to a cancer diagnosis and its effects on their ability to work.

The law protects volunteer and paid firefighters assigned to at least six years of hazardous duty who have been exposed to toxins that are known to cause cancer.

If you’re having difficulty submitting or getting a workers’ compensation claim approved, our experienced Ohio workers’ comp attorneys at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA can answer your questions and guide you through the claim process successfully.

Contact us today at (419) 625-7770 for a free consultation of your case.

Local Firefighter Hero

The Act is named for Michael L. Palumbo Jr., who lost his life in May 2017 due to brain cancer. Palumbo served as a firefighter for nearly a quarter century. He held the positions of fire captain with the Willowick and Beachwood Fire Departments, SWAT medic, and a member of a hazmat team.

Palumbo gave testimony before the Ohio State Senate regarding his nearly two-year battle with cancer. He fought hard to see the bill passed so that others in similar situations could benefit. Only four months before he lost his life to the disease, Palumbo and his family had the opportunity to attend the signing of the bill into law by Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Wage Loss Compensation in Ohio

Wage loss in Ohio is compensation paid to an injured worker whose earnings are diminished as a result of certain restrictions placed upon the worker, as per the conditions allowed in the claim. There are two conditions required for eligibility regarding wage loss for firefighters and other workers:

  • A decrease or loss of wages must exist
  • The lost wages are a direct result of the restrictions produced by the allowed conditions in the claim

Working Wage Loss

This type of compensation is payable to an injured worker who returns to employment, but not in their former position. For instance, an injured firefighter may return to work with the same employer or a new employer, but receive different job responsibilities, fewer hours, and less pay as a result of physical limitations.

Limits on Some Claims

Wage loss for firefighters due to a cancer diagnosis may be challenged in certain cases. For instance, if evidence exists that the cancer began prior to the individual’s employment as a firefighter, or if evidence indicates the cancer is a result of using tobacco products, their workers’ compensation claim may be denied. As well, firefighters 70 years of age or older who have not performed hazardous duty within the last 15 years may not have their claim for wage loss approved.

Contact a Skilled Ohio Workers’ Comp Attorney for Your Claim

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with cancer after working as a firefighter? At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA, we have the experience and resources to necessary to maneuver your claim through Ohio’s workers’ comp system to help you obtain the compensation to which you may be entitled.

Contact us today at (419) 625-7770 for a free, initial case consultation.