Washington Cancer and PTSD Lawyer for Firefighters
Firefighters have one of the most stressful occupations in the country. As a result of being constantly exposed to stressful, hazardous situations, they unfortunately have a higher risk of both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cancer than the general population. Fortunately, firefighters may be able to receive compensation for these health conditions through a worker’s compensation claim in Washington State.
If you or a loved one developed PTSD or cancer as a firefighter, contact Colburn Law immediately to discuss your situation. We are here to help you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Why Choose Us?
At Colburn law, we are committed to assisting first responders with any legal issues surrounding their compensation claims.
- Founder Greg Colburn has personally experienced the worker’s compensation process, suffering a serious injury that left him wheelchair-bound for two years. He uses that experience to make your process more efficient.
- We have years of experience successfully filing worker’s compensation claims for employees in all types of industry. We understand how the process works and are intimately familiar with the laws that enforce the process.
- We were one of the first law firms to successfully facilitate a claim for PTSD on behalf of first responders.
We understand how valuable compensation can be for your injuries, and we want to help you receive the recovery your deserve.
Cancer is a Serious Issue for Firefighters
Although fighting fires every day is dangerous in itself, the number one cause of death in in firefighters is actually not from burns or the fire itself, but from exposure to many of the toxic fumes and chemicals that are emitted as a result of the burning.
- Structural fires typically release a significant number of contaminants to the air due to the contents of the structure. Chemicals released include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, benzene, styrene, and other chemicals.
- Structural fires can also accelerate the development of cancer if they are made with materials that are inherently carcinogenic. For example, some older structures may still contain asbestos within their walls as insulation. When inhaled, asbestos can give you a rare, aggressive form of lung cancer called mesothelioma.
- Forest fires and other wildfires mean firefighters are constantly exposed to smoke and smoke inhalation. Although studies are still being conducted as to the long-term health effects of wildfire smoke inhalation, it is not unfounded to think that repeated instances of continued smoke inhalation contribute to a greater risk of lung cancer in firefighters.
Additionally, many of these contaminants can follow firefighters from the site of the fire to their station, as they can typically stick to their gear and other clothes. Constant exposure to these contaminants are significantly increase their risk of contracting cancer.
PTSD is an Equally Serious Issue in Firefighters
PTSD and cancer in firefighters is often discussed hand in hand because they are both serious issues among the occupation that generally do not get the attention they deserve. PTSD has long been a serious problem among firefighters – and constant exposure to chronic stress and traumatic events may contribute greatly to its development.
- According to the Journal of Occupational Health, roughly 20% of firefighters and paramedics have PTSD.
- According to a study by Florida State University, 46.8% of firefighters have had thoughts about suicide, 19.2 percent have planned suicide, and 15.5 percent have attempted suicide.
Like cancer, PTSD can be a debilitating disorder that affects your physical, mental, and emotional state on a profound level. Fear, guilt, anger, depression, anxiety, suicide, alcoholism, and drug abuse can all develop as a result of PTSD – and will not go away unless help is sought out.
An Industrial Insurance Claim Can Help
One avenue for help can come in the form of a worker’s compensation claim. Also known as an industrial insurance claim, you have a right to receive financial benefits for your injuries or occupational disease by filing a claim with the state. In the state of Washington, the Industrial Insurance Act enables firefighters who have been diagnosed with PTSD or cancer to file a claim for compensation.
Although monetary compensation may not be a cure for these illnesses, they provide a means to seek treatment – which can often be expensive and difficult to obtain in the case of both cancer and PTSD.
In these cases, it is highly recommended to consult with a lawyer experienced in first responder claims. They can help you understand the process for obtaining worker’s compensation, going over any restrictions or requirements for filing. Additionally, they can help fill out and file the paperwork on your behalf so that you do not have to deal with the added stress and work.
Contact Us Today
Cancer and PTSD in firefighters is a serious problem that should not be ignored. At Colburn Law, we are committed to helping firefighters receive the benefits they are entitled to, in order to seek the treatment they deserve. If you or a loved one is a firefighter who has been diagnosed with cancer or PTSD, contact us today to discuss your situation. Let us help you obtain the compensation necessary to make a full recovery.