Many people try to avoid the amount of time they spend outside during the heat of the day, especially during the summer. They run from their air conditioned car into an air conditioned building. Unfortunately, if you are one of the many people who work in outdoor conditions, you often do not have this luxury. You are being exposed to the sun day in and day out. Due to the exposure to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun, you even have an increased risk of skin cancer. The question is, if you are diagnosed with skin cancer as a result of working outside, will workers compensation cover your condition?
What Is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer a person can contract. There are more new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year than all other cancers combined. It is estimated that each year in the US, approximately 5 million people are treated for this disease. When diagnosed in the early stages, it is often easily treatable, but when not treated it can be deadly.
Skin cancer is caused when mutations take place within the DNA of your skin cells. These mutations cause your skin cells to rapidly multiply, as well as become cancerous. Most of the time these mutations take place as a direct result of damage that is caused to one, or more, of the layers of your skin. This damage is often caused by the dangerous ultraviolet rays of the sun.
There are four basic common forms of skin cancer. They are:
• Actinic Keratosis - a precancerous skin condition
• Basal Cell Carcinoma - a slow growing type of skin cancer that often appears on sun exposed body parts of light-skinned people. This type of cancer usually does not spread.
• Squamous Cell Carcinoma - a very common form of slow growing skin cancer, which appears on sun exposed skin of very fair skinned people. This type of cancer does commonly spread, and is often hard to treat.
• Melanoma - is the most aggressive type of skin cancer and is often the most difficult to treat. Areas frequently metastasize, and can result in death if left untreated.
Less common forms include
• Merkel cell carcinoma
• Kaposi sarcoma
• Cutaneous lymphoma
• Skin adnexal tumors, as well as other types of sarcomas
Will Workers Compensation Cover Your Condition?
No matter which type of cancer you have been diagnosed with, if you have contracted this disease as a result of your employment, it would seem that workers compensation should have to pay. Some states have already made provisions which address skin cancer as an occupational disease.
These laws and regulations are often referred to as a cancer presumption, and skin cancer is usually included along with many other types of cancers. The rules in these states are unfortunately sometimes very specific to a certain class of occupations such as firefighters. For example:
• Pennsylvania passed this presumption in 2011 for firefighters who suffer with some type of cancer.
• Colorado covers skin cancer as an occupational disease for firefighters only after they have worked five years on the job.
• New Hampshire's law requires that it be proven that the firefighter was cancer free prior to starting the job.
Other states which have some type of statutory presumptions in place include California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Illinois, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.
What Happens If You Are Not A Firefighter?
Unfortunately, when you are not a firefighter, getting your skin cancer covered under workers compensation is not always as easy to prove. Agencies may try to argue that you were predisposed to the disease because of the following:
• Family history of cancer
• Personal characteristics such as your age, sex, and ethnicity
• Personal habit, such as being a smoker
• Other medical conditions, and more.
All of these certainly raise your risks of developing various forms of cancer. That should not matter if the root cause of your cancer is your exposure to the sun during the time you are on the job. Your skin cancer should be considered to be an occupational disease, and you should be compensated.
As you can see, trying to get skin cancer covered under workers' compensation is difficult at best. This is not something you will want to fight alone. If you have developed skin cancer as a result of your occupation, you need to hire an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney who specializes in workers compensation cases, such as one from a firm like the Law Office Of Daniel E Goodman. They will be able to argue for the compensation you deserve.Share