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Firefighters and Police

Nevada Firefighters and Police Officers Have Special Workers’ Comp Laws

If you are a Nevada firefighter or police officer who has been injured, special workers’ compensation laws and benefits may be applicable to your situation. You may be entitled to coverage that is not available to other workers in the state. Give our office a call to find out whether you meet the criteria to be considered a firefighter or law enforcement officer under Nevada law. We’ll help make sure any applicable laws and benefits are applied to your claim.

Understanding the Application of a Conclusive Presumption of Compensability

In Nevada, a special group of laws govern the application of a conclusive presumption of compensability in cases where firefighters and police are injured or become ill. Under the laws, qualifying workers do not have to prove that an occupational exposure caused certain disabling conditions. Additionally, if the conclusive presumption applies, the employer or insurer cannot try to prove that the condition was pre-existing or that it arose out of something other than occupational activity.

There is an automatic presumption that an officer or firefighter has a work-related injury if he or she is diagnosed with any of the following.

Cancer

If you were exposed to a known carcinogen that could be reasonably connected to your type of cancer and your cancer manifests itself after five years of employment, there is a rebuttable presumption of compensability. The presumption is extended for cancers that are diagnosed up to five years following termination of your employment. If you lack the five years of employment history as a firefighter or police officer, you may still be able to recover money when you can prove that the cancer is work-related.

Heart Disease

Firefighters and police officers who have two years of continuous, full-time employment and who have disabling heart disease are entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Employers can claim a failure to correct predisposing conditions as a defense, but Nevada law provides for a conclusive presumption that a disabling heart condition is occupationally related. If you are partially disabled and unable to work as a police officer or firefighter because of the disease, you may be entitled to partial disability benefits.

Lung Disease

There is a conclusive presumption under Nevada law that lung disease is work-related if you have two years of continuous, full-time employment as a firefighter or police officer before you became disabled. If you do not have two years of employment, you may still be able to recover benefits if you can show a relationship between your disease and the on the job exposure to heat, fumes, smoke, tear gas, or other toxic gasses.

Certain Contagious Diseases

Some contagious diseases may be treated differently for injured firefighter and police as well. If you are exposed to tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV, and some other contagious diseases while providing medical care or fulfilling your duties at your job, you may be entitled to lifetime benefits including coverage for testing and treatment.

Hepatitis

If you have five years of employment as an officer or firefighter, hepatitis is conclusively presumed to be work-related unless you already had that form of hepatitis before your employment began.

Special Workers’ Comp Provisions for Heart and Lung Disease

The law allows for special provisions for police and firefighters who have disabling heart or lung disease. People with heart or lung conditions who have been employed in a full time, continuous, uninterrupted, and salaried position as a police officer, firefighter, or arson investigator for at least 2 years before becoming disabled are conclusively presumed to have a work-related condition if the disabling condition was diagnosed or occurred:

  • During the course of employment
  • During the period after employment separation equal to the number of years worked if employed less than 20 years
  • After employment separation at any time during your lifetime if you worked at least 20 years as a firefighter, arson investigator, or police officer.

The conclusive presumption does not apply if:

  • You used tobacco products within one year immediately preceding your claim.
  • You departed from a physician’s plan of treatment or care in the three months preceding your claim.

Who Is a Qualifying Firefighter or Police Officer in Nevada for the Purpose of Workers’ Comp Benefits?

To qualify for workers’ comp benefits that are unique to firefighters and police in Nevada, you must meet certain criteria. You must be a:

  • Paid firefighter, police officer, or another worker who is employed within a specific department that is covered under the law.
  • Volunteer firefighter

For workers who don’t qualify as firefighters or police, there are often other legal remedies to recover money for medical treatment, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation when you’re injured at work. Give us a call and we’ll evaluate your situation to determine which laws and benefits apply to your case.

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