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Workers' comp change for first responders being considered in NJ

When a person develops a disease or illness due to conditions they were exposed to as part of their work, it can have major impacts on their life. Workers' compensation can play a major role in helping a person deal with the impacts of a workplace-acquired disease or illness.

As anyone who has made a workers' compensation claim probably knows, the workers' compensation process can be a very complex one. Currently, New Jersey's legislature is considering a bill that is aimed at making the process of seeking workers' compensation for certain medical conditions a little easier for one group of employees: first responders.

Under the bill, in cases involving workers' compensation claims made by first responders regarding certain medical conditions (including certain cancers), there would be a legal presumption that the first responder acquired the condition through their work. Thus, the burden of proof for causation in such workers' compensation cases would be moved from first responders to their employers.

Proponents of the bill argue that this change would make it easier for first responders to receive the relief they deserve when they acquire such conditions as part of their work. Opponents of the bill have expressed concerns about what the bill would ultimately cost taxpayers.

The bill went before the New Jersey Senate and was passed. The bill will now go before the New Jersey Assembly. One wonders what will ultimately happen with this bill.

What are your thoughts on this workers' compensation bill? Do you think that it should be passed?

Source: The Trentonian, "Greenstein stumps for first responder bill in Hamilton," Michael Macagnone, May 14, 2013

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