A new legislation pieced, signed into law on January 4 in Ohio, gives hopes to firefighters with mesothelioma and a number of other types of cancers.
The Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act, signed into law by Ohio Governor John Kasich, classifies mesothelioma as a occupational disease for firefighters. The new law allows firefighters with mesothelioma to file a compensation claims with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Ohio joins around 30 other states that have already classified mesothelioma as an occupational disease for firefighters.
The new law came into place based on Louis Palumbo Jr.’s battle with mesothelioma. Palumbo, a former firefighter, fought to have other firefighters covered should they develop mesothelioma as well.
“It’s going to protect them and their families through several different avenues to get the benefits right away that they deserve.” said Palumbo. “I’m glad there is a law protecting firefighters. I’m extremely honored the law bears my name.”
Doug Stern of the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters (OAPFF), said that they’ve been fighting to get the law passed for a long time. It not only covers firefighters who develop mesothelioma, but also firefighters with different types of cancers that developed because of occupational hazards, including brain, colon, lung, and prostate cancer.
“Mesothelioma was one of those things we knew was there, but we needed a bill that was a little more general than that,” Stern told FOX 8 News in Ohio. “It’s been 32 years to get to this point, and this bill is probably the biggest thing we’ve been able to pass. These cancers are job-related to firefighters.”
As with most new laws, however, there are certain requirements for eligibility. For instance, firefighters must have a least six years of job duties that exposed them to asbestos. Additionally, if firefighters have been off duty for 20 years or more, they are disqualified. This is big barrier since it can take at least 20 years for mesothelioma to surface.
There is also an age limit. Former firefighters ages 70 and older aren’t included in the new law, and those who develop cancer due to different reasons aside from occupational exposure are disqualified. Stern understands that there are hurdles with the new law, but states that the focus is to make it be as effective as possible.
“I think we’re always looking at how to make the law better,” said Stern. “Like any law, it will take adjustments and tweaks moving forward. The goal is doing what’s best for the greatest amount of folks.”
Additional Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Victims
If you suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, you are welcome to call us at 800-793-4540.