What Does the Heart & Lung Act Mean for Firefighters? skip to content

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What Does the Heart & Lung Act Mean for Firefighters?

Firefighters are the unsung heroes of our communities, facing immense risks and challenges to keep us safe. Yet, the dangers they encounter on the job can sometimes lead to serious health conditions, including heart and lung diseases. Many have heard about the “Heart and Lung Act” and wonder what it means for them. In reality, there is no separate law by that name. Instead, firefighters are afforded special consideration under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, particularly under Section 6(f). Let’s explore what this means for firefighters and how it affects their ability to receive compensation and treatment for work-related illnesses.

Understanding Section 6(f)

Under Section 6(f) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, firefighters who have served for at least five years and develop certain health conditions are granted crucial protections. These conditions include heart or vascular diseases, lung or respiratory diseases, hearing loss, hernias, hypertension, tuberculosis and cancer. Importantly, if a firefighter meets the criteria outlined in Section 6(f), their condition is rebuttably presumed to arise out of and in the course of their work. This presumption simplifies the claims process, as it automatically establishes a link between the condition and the individual’s employment.

By fulfilling specific criteria, such as proving a diagnosis and demonstrating a disability resulting from the condition, firefighters can access compensation and treatment related to their illness with greater ease. At Black & Jones, we have extensive experience assisting firefighters in navigating the complexities of workers’ compensation claims, ensuring they receive the benefits they deserve.

MRSA Infections and Enhanced Protections

Recent legislative amendments have further expanded benefits for firefighters under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The changes, that went into effect in 2021, included MRSA infections as presumed to be caused by workplace exposure. This revision acknowledges the unique hazards faced by firefighters and ensures they receive appropriate support and compensation when affected by contagious infections. 

If a firefighter contracts MRSA, they are presumed to have done so due to the hazards or exposures of their employment. This presumption simplifies the burden of proof, placing the onus on employers to refute the connection between the infection and the workplace. It’s essential for firefighters to seek knowledgeable legal representation to navigate the intricacies of workers’ compensation claims effectively.

Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities, and they deserve the utmost support and recognition for their sacrifices. At Black & Jones Attorneys at Law, we are committed to advocating for their rights and ensuring they receive the compensation and treatment they deserve for work-related illnesses. If you or someone you know is a firefighter who has been diagnosed with a heart or lung condition, MRSA infection or any other work-related illness, we are here to help. 

Contact Black & Jones for a free consultation to discuss your options and learn how we can advocate for your rights. Get started today!