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Introduced Version Senate Bill 571 History

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Senate Bill No. 571

(By Senators Jenkins, Plymale, Deem, Minard, Green, Hall, Hunter, Foster, Kessler, Stollings and Yoder)

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[Introduced February 5, 2008; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

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A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto two new sections, designated §23-4-26 and §23-4-27, all relating to disability and death benefits under workers' compensation; cardiovascular injury or disease or pulmonary disease suffered by a professional firefighter; creating a rebuttable presumption that cardiovascular injury or disease or pulmonary disease suffered by a professional firefighter is an occupational injury if certain criteria are met; creating a rebuttable presumption that cardiovascular injury or disease or pulmonary disease resulting in death of a professional firefighter is a death by an occupational injury if certain criteria are met; providing that sufficient notice of occupational injury, disease or death has been satisfied under such circumstances; establishing presumption that death or injury not occasioned by willful intent; and definitions.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto two new sections, designated §23-4-26 and §23-4-27, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4. DISABILITY AND DEATH BENEFITS.
§23-4-26. Cardiovascular injury or disease or pulmonary disease suffered by a professional firefighter.

If any person has been employed as a professional firefighter by a municipal fire department for at least two years prior to a cardiovascular injury or the onset of a cardiovascular disease or pulmonary disease and if the disease has developed or the injury has occurred within six months of having participated in fire fighting or training or drill which actually involves fire fighting, there is a rebuttable presumption that the employee received the injury or contracted the disease arising out of and in the course of his or her employment, that sufficient notice of the injury or disease has been given, and that the injury or disease was not occasioned by the willful intention of the employee to injure himself or herself or another.
For the purposes of this section, a person shall be considered to have been employed by a municipal fire department as a professional firefighter if he or she is employed as an active member of a municipal fire department and if that person aids in the extinguishment of fires, regardless of whether that person has administrative duties or other duties as a member of the municipal fire department.
§23-4-27. Cardiovascular injury or disease or pulmonary disease resulting in a professional firefighter's death.

If any person has been employed as a professional firefighter by a municipal fire department for at least two years prior to a cardiovascular injury or the onset of a cardiovascular disease or pulmonary disease and provided that the person has developed the disease or has suffered the injury which resulted in death within six months of having participated in fire fighting or training or drill which actually involves fire fighting, there is a rebuttable presumption that the person received the injury or disease arising out of and in the course of his or her employment, that sufficient notice of the injury or disease was given, and that the injury or disease was not occasioned by the willful intention of the employee to injure himself or herself or another.
For the purposes of this section, a person is considered to have been employed by a municipal fire department as a professional firefighter if he or she is employed as an active member of a municipal fire department and if that person aids in the extinguishment of fires, regardless of whether that person has administrative duties or other duties as a member of the municipal fire department.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create a presumption of compensability for cardiovascular injury or disease of professional firefighters employed by municipal fire departments.

These sections are new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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