Presumptive Disability Law in New Jersey

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CODE PART:
NEW JERSEY PERMANENT STATUTES
TITLE 34 LABOR AND WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION
*NJ Supreme Court, Lindquist v. City of Jersey City Fire Department
New Jersey Legislative Website
DESCRIPTION:

34:15-7.3. Worker's compensation for injury, death occurring while responding to law enforcement, public safety, medical emergency

  1. For any cardiovascular or cerebrovascular injury or death which occurs to an individual covered by subsection b. of this section while that individual is engaged in a response to an emergency, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the injury or death is compensable under R.S. 34:15-1 et seq., if that injury or death occurs while the individual is responding, under orders from competent authority, to a law enforcement, public safety or medical emergency as defined in subsection c. of this section.
  2. This section shall apply to:
    1. Any permanent or temporary member of a paid or part-paid fire or police department and force;
    2. Any member of a volunteer fire company;
    3. Any member of a volunteer first aid or rescue squad; and
    4. Any special, reserve, or auxiliary policeman doing volunteer duty.
  3. As used in this section, "law enforcement, public safety or medical emergency" means any combination of circumstances requiring immediate action to prevent the loss of human life, the destruction of property, or the violation of the criminal laws of this State or its political subdivisions, and includes, but is not limited to, the suppression of a fire, a firemanic drill, the apprehension of a criminal, or medical and rescue service.

*34:15-43.2. Volunteer fire department members; respiratory diseases; presumption of occupational disease

Any condition or impairment of health of any member of a volunteer fire department caused by any disease of the respiratory system shall be held and presumed to be an occupational disease unless the contrary be made to appear in rebuttal by satisfactory proof; providing

  1. Such disease develops or first manifests itself during a period while such member is an active member of such department; and
  2. Said member, upon entering said volunteer fire service, has or shall have undergone a medical examination, which examination failed or fails to disclose the presence of such disease or diseases; and
  3. Such disease develops or first manifests itself within 90 days from the event medically determined to be the cause thereof.

Any present member who did not undergo a medical examination upon entering said volunteer fire service, may undergo such examination within 180 days after the effective date of this act and in the event such examination does not disclose the presence of such disease or diseases, he shall thereafter be entitled to the benefits of this act.

L.1964, c. 291, s. 1. Amended by L.1965, c. 65, s. 1.

34:15-43.3. Time of development or first manifestation of respiratory disease

For the purposes herein expressed, the time of development or first manifestation of such disease or diseases shall only be determined by and run from the date of first notice of the existence of such disease or diseases to such member by a physician, or the date of death as a result of such disease or diseases.

L.1964, c. 291, s. 2.

34:15-43.4. Maximum benefits for volunteers

A person participating under the supervision of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, in a volunteer program in that part of the Palisades Interstate Park located in New Jersey, who is deemed to be an employee of this State under R.S. 32:14-4 for the purpose of receiving workers' compensation coverage, is eligible for compensation for injury or death, or both, under chapter 15 of Title 34 of the Revised Statutes, based upon a weekly salary or compensation conclusively presumed to be received by this person in an amount sufficient to entitle him, or, in the event of his death, his dependents, to receive the maximum compensation available under chapter 15 of Title 34 of the Revised Statutes.

*NJ Supreme Court, Lindquist v. City of Jersey City Fire Department, 175 N.J. 244 (2003), Decided February 11, 2003

"The firefighters’ presumption provision of the Act provides that any condition or impairment of health of any member of a volunteer fire department caused by disease of the respiratory system shall be presumed to be an occupational disease unless rebutted by satisfactory proof. The Court can find no plausible reason why the Legislature would have intended to treat differently voluntary and paid firefighters who sustain the same pulmonary conditions after fighting the same fires. Therefore, the rebuttable statutory presumption of compensability also applies to paid firefighters. Numerous states provide a similar presumption. (Pp. 25-29)"