On October 29, 2021, Gregory Booth closed out Fire Safety Month by representing a suburban firefighter at his disability pension hearing where he was awarded a line of duty disability pension. Greg was able to successfully prove that his client developed kidney cancer from the cumulative effects of the acts of duty of being a firefighter for over 20 years. This is one of only a handful of pension board decisions that have awarded line of duty disability for cancer.
“This was a monumental win for my client, his wife, and his young children. And it is an important decision for firefighters throughout Illinois. Proving a line of duty pension for a disease like cancer is not very common. But I believe that we provided the pension board with the knowledge about kidney cancer that they needed to make the award. We had a world-renowned expert on the association between firefighting and specific types of cancer review Roberto’s case. He determined that there is absolutely an increased incidence rate between renal cell carcinoma and the carcinogens that Roberto was exposed to as a firefighter.”
Much of the testimony in the case centered around the toxic substances that firefighters encounter in typical structure fires. There is no testing available to fire departments to determine if there are carcinogens in the air. They are unable to test for asbestos, benzine, PACs, and almost all of the other Category 1 Carcinogens as classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Until recently, firefighters often washed their gear in the same machines where they washed their bed sheets and dish towels. Even today, once the fire is extinguished, SCBA gear is often removed as firefighters perform inspections of the structures.
“A lot has changed in our knowledge of the association between various cancers and firefighting over the last few decades. However, the equipment used and ability to test for carcinogens has not changed. Roberto chose a career where he dedicated his life to helping others. Unfortunately, that career changed his life forever. I am proud to represent first responders and help them and their families get the benefits and compensation they deserve when they can no longer do their jobs.”
Gregory Booth has represented dozens of police officers and firefighters in their disability pension hearings and corresponding workers’ compensation claims. Over his decade of experience in the field, Greg has awarded tens of millions in disability benefits and settlements to his clients. He seeks to bring justice to those he represents for the injuries they have sustained and financial relief to them and their loved ones.