Late fall signals the beginning of California’s wildfire season. During the months of October, November, and December, dry air and high winds cause brush to spark, leaving destruction in its path.
In addition to the widespread devastation of the fires to life and property, smoke inhalation is another health risk for residents. The state’s firefighters are highly at risk for developing occupational diseases because of smoke inhalation. For other people who work outside, smoke inhalation is also an occupational risk.
Workers’ Compensation for Firefighters
The state of California defines workers’ compensation benefits specifically for firefighters, which include the right to file occupational illness claims. Firefighters can recover workers’ compensation benefits for diseases that can be attributed to their work, even if they are retired. The program covers specific illnesses such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, heart disease, and other conditions that are caused by firefighting conditions such as smoke inhalation.
Effects on Agricultural Workers
For Californian agricultural workers, smoke inhalation is a major risk. NBC News published a story on the impact of wildfires on farmworkers specifically: “October marks not only fire season in California, but also the peak of the grape harvest. In areas not imminently threatened, some workers labored through the heat and dangerous smoke… As the fire continues to spread, many now are finding that their work — and paychecks — have been suspended.”
Multiple states exclude farm employees from their workers’ compensation system. The state of California allows all agricultural employees, including those who are undocumented immigrants, to receive workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an on-the-job injury.
The Alvandi Law Group, P.C. legal team offers knowledgeable representation. Our practice is focused exclusively on workers’ compensation, so injured employees can count on us to provide the dedicated advocacy they need.
To discuss your workers’ compensation case, schedule a free consultation with our attorneys using our contact form or via phone at (800) 980-6905. Our lawyers speak Spanish, Korean, and Farsi.