“Cancer is a number of diseases subsumed within one diagnostic label.” Mary Burton Maggie Watson. Firefighter sought workers compensation benefits from Town. Per CRS 8-41-209, certain cancers are presumed covered, unless the employer can show by a preponderance of medical evidence the disease did not occur on the job. Both parties stipulated the statute’s presumption of coverage applied, and the only issue on appeal was whether the Town overcame that presumption. An administrative judge held, and the Industrial Claims Appeals Office affirmed, that a defendant must establish a specific non-work-related cause of the cancer to overcome the presumption. The court of appeals remanded, holding that requiring an employer to establish a specific cause may be an insurmountable barrier, and the correct standard to overcome the presumption was a preponderance of the evidence.
Tag Archives: CRS 8-41-209
City of Littleton and CCMSI v. Industrial Claims Appeals Office, Julie Christ, and Michelle Parris 2012COA187 (November 1, 2012)
Radiation causes cancer; does being a firefighter also cause cancer? Causation is never that simple, as this 68 page opinion and dissent demonstrate. In this case, a firefighter gets brain cancer and claims it was related to his employment and the hazardous chemicals to which he was exposed on the job. The central issue on appeal is what evidence the fire district must present to prove that being a firefighter did not cause the cancer? In a typical toxic tort case, the burden would be on the firefighter. But in Colorado there is a special statute that shifts the burden to the employer to prove that the employment could not have caused cancer, and that it did not cause cancer in this firefighter. The court found the employers’ evidence did not meet that burden because it could not disprove the presumption that employment-related exposure to toxic substances was the source of the cancer.