Seamen and sailors often work in dangerous conditions and take risks on the job. One such risk is exposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen linked to a rare but deadly type of cancer known as mesothelioma.
Asbestos was widely used in ships and shipbuilding materials, and as a result, those who handled asbestos-containing materials during assembly are at risk for asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure and as such, the risk extends to crews that inhabited the ship during operation as well as the agents, inspectors, shipyard personnel, and passengers who visited the facilities where these materials were present, even if just on occasion.
Employees attempting to hold their employers accountable for asbestos-related injuries and harm have few rights in most states. What they recover is usually limited by the workers’ compensation system, the amount of which is just a fraction of what is available had they had the opportunity to go through the traditional tort system.
The Jones Act
However, seamen and sailors working for non-governmental agencies injured on the job are protected by the Jones Act. Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act is a federal statute that defines certain seaman’s rights. Under the Jones Act, seamen have the right to sue a ship owner or employer if their injury or illness is caused by negligence. That includes those who were exposed to asbestos through the negligence of their employer and who, years later, were diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases
“Mesothelioma lawsuits can be complicated. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced asbestos attorney on your side who understand the laws that are applicable in in these cases,” says Charlie Stern, a lawyer in Beasley Allen’s Toxic Torts Section. “Understanding a client’s rights under the Jones Act helps ensure that you can get the maximum recovery for your client.”
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen. Those most likely to be exposed to this toxic mineral include miners, factory workers, railroad and automotive works, shipbuilders, plumbers, and construction workers.
Decades after the dangers of asbestos exposure became known, some companies continued to use products that contained asbestos and failed to protect their workers from exposure. Our experience shows that all too often giant corporations are choosing profits over people.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and want to pursue legal action, Charlie Stern, Beasley Allen’s mesothelioma lawyer, can help you navigate a complex mesothelioma lawsuit to help ensure adequate compensation for you and your loved ones. For more information, contact our mesothelioma lawyers today and get your free case evaluation by our legal team.
Let us put our resources to work for you. If you are an attorney, our mesothelioma lawyers can competently and conscientiously assist you in handling any group of cases, no matter how large.