New Law Gives Stronger Protection for Public Safety Employees in New Jersey

Law Firm Newswire



Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) November 20, 2019 – A new law, effective July 8, 2019, makes it easier for public safety employees in New Jersey to recover workers’ compensation for certain types of cancer.

Under the new law, a public safety employee, like a firefighter, under the age of 76 will be presumed to have a work-related occupational disease if they develop cancer, as long as they have seven years of service. The employee will not have to identify exposures or fires that they fought. To avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits, the employer – the county or state – will have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence – it was more likely than not – that a work exposure or fire did not cause the cancer.

For the public employee to recover, the cancer must be a type which may be caused by exposure to heat, radiation or a known or suspected carcinogen. Examples of cancers scientifically linked to fires include lung cancer, multiple myeloma, leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Some studies suggest firefighters have an increased risk of testicular, brain, colon, stomach and rectal cancer. There is a link between some forms of skin cancers, such as malignant melanoma, and fire exposure.

The new law covers members of a paid or volunteer fire or police department. It includes members of the state police or the Community Emergency Response Team. The act covers advanced medical technicians of a first aid or rescue squad or any other nurse or advanced medical technician responding to a catastrophic event. The act also applies to public safety workers who become ill while administering vaccines.

A different standard applies if a public safety employee has less than seven years of service. The employee must show their exposure to a known carcinogen, cancer-causing radiation or a radioactive substance. The employee must also show the illness manifested itself during their public safety employment.

The new law does not change the statute of limitations governing how long an employee has to file a workers’ compensation claim for an occupational disease. An employee must file a claim within two years of the time they know that they have a cancer condition related to work.

Suffering from a form of cancer that resulted from a job in the public safety sector? Talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer at Petrillo and Goldberg at 856.249.9295 or visit

Learn more at Petrillo & Goldberg Law 6951 North Park Drive Pennsauken, NJ 08109 1333 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 70 South Broad Street Woodbury, NJ 08096 Phone: 856-486-4343 Fax: 856:486-7979