Reading Room

NJ Supreme Court Upholds The Rights of Firefighters Who Suffer Lung Disease

Workers' Compensation

Jon 5153

A unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court decided that firefighters, whether paid or volunteer, may receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for developing respiratory illness and lung disease as a result of exposure to asbestos, fumes and other toxic substances encountered on the job. Decided February 11, 2002, the case of Culbert vs. City of Jersey City and its companion Lindquist vs. City of Jersey City, reversed the Judgment of the Appellate Division, which threw out the firefighter’s claims.

Burden Relaxed in Heart Disease Claims

Occupational Heart Condition Held Compensable

Jon 7280

The state Supreme Court ruled that workers claiming occupational heart disease need only show that their job substantially contributed to the development of the disease to be awarded compensation. But in the first ruling of its kind in the country, the Court specifically held that smokers can be denied compensation if a job-related disease is principally caused by personal-risk factors such as smoking, obesity or a family history of the illness.

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