CANCER DIAGNOSIS: FIREFIGHTER FAMILIES FIGHT FOR JUSTICE
The attorneys at BKTP Law have handled several firefighter cancer cases which have come to successful conclusion over the past two decades. The firm’s lawyers are very experienced in this field of law and have been called upon to present information nationally to fire fighter associations. The firm works to address legislation which protects first responders and their families.
The union representing most full-time career firefighters in North America, the International Association of Fire Fighters, has been full-throated in its contention that cancer exceeds heart attacks, traffic accidents and traumatic injuries as the top cause of job-related fatalities.
“Cancer is a looming personal catastrophe for all our members, and we are just beginning to understand the magnitude of the problem,” union president Harold Schaitberger said last year in support of legislation that would establish a federal registry of firefighter cancer deaths.
“The uptick in the number of cases has really exploded over the last several years,” said J.R. Boyd, a labor and workers’ compensation attorney based in Independence.
According to the Missouri Department of Labor, just eight claims for compensation were filed by firefighters with a nature of injury listed as cancer. Of those eight claims, one was voluntarily dismissed by the employee, and the remaining seven are pending with the division.
But Boyd thinks more cases have been filed.
During his first 15 years representing employees in benefit cases, he never came across a firefighter cancer case. Now he and the other attorneys at the firm have dozens of cases filed or in the process of being filed.
He recently tried the first of those on behalf of a Gladstone fire captain who died at 54 after a six-year cancer battle.