On February 25, 2010, a South Carolina law providing additional worker’s compensation coverage for firefighters and law enforcement became law.
Enhanced Coverage for Firefighters
When signed into law, it will automatically presume that if a firefighter suffers from certain heart and respiratory conditions such as heart disease or respiratory disease resulting in total or partial disability or death, the injury will be covered under workers compensation provided that it arose or occurred during the course of employment and:
- the claimant joined the fire department after May 29, 1968,
- he/she is under the age of thirty-seven years, and
- he/she successfully passed a physical examination when they started and/or by July 1, 2012.
With regard to the physical:
- there must be a written report confirming the physical was conducted,
- The report must be filed with the department,
- before any alleged injury with the fire department, and the
- physical must have failed to reveal any evidence of a heart or respiratory condition(s), and
- the heart or respiratory condition(s) developed while actively engaged in fighting a fire or within twenty-four hours from the date of last service in the activity.
- the officer is under thirty-seven years of age, and
- he/she successfully passed a physical examination when they started which included a risk factor assessment for coronary artery disease conducted by a competent physician, and
- a written report of the examination was made and filed with the law enforcement agency, and
- the examination did not reveal any evidence of cardiac impairment or injury.
Enhanced Coverage for Law Enforcement
With regard to law enforcement, when a cardiac-related incident impairs or injures a law enforcement officer resulting in total or partial disability or death, it is presumed to be covered by workers comp if the injury or condition developed within twenty-four hours from extraordinary physical exertion provided:
If the physical determined that the officer is at high risk for coronary artery disease, and the law enforcement officer fails to undergo (at his own expense) additional medical tests related to discovery of coronary artery disease, he is not entitled to the presumption that the injury is covered by workers compensation.
If an officer cannot produce a copy of a physical and/or additional medical testing as appropriate, the officer may submit a written report of a physical examination conducted before July 1, 2012, which includes a risk factor assessment for coronary artery disease and medical counseling on risk factor reduction and prevention of coronary artery disease.