There might be a positive change to California’s workers’ compensation laws on the horizon. Assemblymember Kevin Mullin has recently introduced Assembly Bill 2665, which would add skin cancer to covered conditions for certain workers who spend most of their workdays in the sun.
The bill seeks to cover Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) peace officers and members of the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) in particular. On a regular day, employees from these two state departments can spend an entire 8-hour shift outside. Hats may be provided to certain officers and employees to help provide some shade. Short-sleeved uniforms still expose their arms throughout the day, though.
At this time, only lifeguards in California can file for workers’ compensation if they are diagnosed with skin cancer. Although AB 2665 only proposes a fairly limited expansion of the state’s workers’ comp rules, it could be the first step in bringing coverage to numerous outdoor fields. For example, agricultural professionals might be next to lobby for better workers’ compensation options if AB 2665 is approved.
Benefits that could become available to outdoor peace officers include:
- Medical costs: Treating skin cancer can be costly and may take years before the patient sees encouraging progress. Workers’ compensation benefits granted to DFW and DPR peace officers would predictably pay for all necessary medical treatments.
- Percentage of pay: Workers’ compensation benefits often provide 66-2/3% of a claimant’s regular pay each week they are unable to work due to complications caused by their work-related injury or illness, as long as they miss more than one week of work.
Under AB 2665, there is a presumption that if an applicant is diagnosed with skin cancer, it more than likely originated due to sun exposure through their regular work duties. To this end, responding insurance companies will bear the evidential burden to prove that the skin cancer did not develop through their employment, rather than the applicant needing to prove that it did. Although, work schedules that show an applicant spends most days out in the sun would be useful. Medical records might also be helpful in showing that an applicant had no preexisting conditions or predisposition for skin cancer in their genetic history in case of an insurance company’s resistance.
If you want to know more about California’s workers’ compensation laws and need to file a claim of your own, call (818) 946-0608 to connect with The Law Offices of Wax & Wax. Our attorneys provide legal counsel and representation to workers of all walks of life throughout Glendale, Santa Clarita, and the surrounding region.