For crewmen and other maritime employees, ships can be risky. Cranes and other loading equipment, for example, may be in bad working order and can cause a serious maritime injury. Accidents can also be caused by spills, fires, water accumulation. But severe maritime injuries often result from less obvious risks like inhaling of benzene, asbestos, or other carcinogens.
Maritime employees inhaling harmful particles or dust pose the greatest danger of exposure like cancer. Welding, cutting wood or metal, paint, fluids, insulation, and other processes can all release tiny particles into the air. Toxic particles (sometimes too small to see with the naked eye) can become lodged in the tissues and linings of the mouth, throat, airways, stomach, and other organs after being consumed. Hazardous exposure to these compounds can cause cell damage and mutation over time and as a result, causes cancer.
You may be eligible for compensation or damages if you suffered a maritime injury or while loading or unloading a ship's cargo, or if you develop an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis. You may have a claim if you are a family member of a seaman who died as a result of shipboard exposure.
Working on ships at sea, in port, or in shipyards has been connected to several illnesses and disorders for ages. Lung cancer and other maritime injury are among the most common illnesses and causes of early death among maritime workers.
The following substances, pollutants, have been linked to the development of lung cancer when inhaled: Beryllium, Black carbon, Cadmium, Crystalline silica, Asbestos, Benzene, and Benzidines.
Working on chemical tankers or vessels that transport chemicals or benzene-containing products can put your health in danger and can cause severe cancer. Because benzene exposure might take years to manifest, you may not believe your condition is the result of benzene exposure.
Since the latency period between chronic benzene exposure and the start of symptoms is so long, you may not intuitively link your cancer diagnosis to benzene exposure, but it is critical to consult a specialist and document your exposure and diagnosis. You may be eligible to recover damages (missed pay, medical treatment costs, and pain and suffering) under the Jones Act, LHWCA, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure.
Certain wire installations, as well as high-powered radiation equipment commonly employed on military ships and submarines, can generate non-ionizing radiation (NIR), such as ultraviolet (UV), microwave (MW), and radio frequency and can increase the risk of different types of cancer. Some ships have unintentionally pointed their radar at passing ships in the past, causing crews to experience a variety of side effects as a result of the exposure.
Even though many of the reasons listed above are known to cause cancer, governments around the world have been sluggish to prohibit their use. Instead, corporations that produce hazardous products (as well as former employers who put workers in danger) are largely held liable for workplace exposure that results in illness diagnoses like cancer, and/or death.
Exposure to toxins and other carcinogens in the maritime workplace is a serious matter. Your life or the life of your family member could be forever changed by cancer or other debilitating illnesses. Get help from an experienced maritime attorney now. Call Mariner Law, PLLC at (253) 600-2531 for a frank discussion of your case and your options with a Jones Act lawyer. The firm proudly serves mariner clients in Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and nationwide.