Police officer’s cancer diagnosed 17 years after the last worked is ruled presumptively compensable
- Posted By: Harvey Brown
- July 1, 2021
This is a Board Panel decision.
This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.
The applicant worked as a police officer from 1982 to 2001. He received a disability retirement in 2003.
The applicant did not notice symptoms until 2018. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He filed an application alleging his employment as a police officer caused his cancer and asserted the cancer presumption under Labor Code section 3212.1.
The case went to trial. The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) noted that section 3212.1 indicated that the presumption only applied if it occurred within the last ten years the applicant actually worked. The applicant in this case had not worked during the last ten years.
The applicant saw an Agreed Medical Examiner (AME) who indicated that the applicant’s cancer was nonindustrial but there was a latency period of 20 years.
The WCJ used the latency period to determine that the cancer would have developed in 1998, 20 years before being diagnosed. Therefore, it was while he was employed and the presumption applied. The cancer was compensable.
The defendant filed a petition for reconsideration. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) issued a Board panel decision. They reviewed the statute and case law. They determined that where substantial medical evidence established that the cancer began developing during employment, the presumption applies and the case is compensable.
Blair v. City of Torrance
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