Shipyards can contain a large amount of asbestos – a mineral that was widely used to produce shipbuilding materials before it was recognized as a carcinogen. Asbestos may no longer be used in manufacturing, but it is still present in dangerous levels in many shipyards around the world. This puts shipyard workers and members of the U.S. Navy at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another illness caused by asbestos as a shipyard worker, contact Bailey & Glasser, LLP for a free legal consultation. You may be eligible for financial compensation. Our asbestos attorneys can help you understand your legal options.
How Can an Asbestos or Mesothelioma Attorney Help You?
Hiring an asbestos attorney can help you in many ways as a shipyard worker who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. First, an attorney can conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation of your case, including searching for evidence to establish when and how you were exposed to asbestos at a shipyard. Your lawyer can also hire qualified experts to testify on your behalf and strengthen your case.
Your attorney’s knowledge of the law, understanding of asbestos and mesothelioma cases, and commitment to pursuing the best possible results for your case will increase the odds of achieving a positive outcome. Finally, an attorney can take care of complicated legal paperwork and processes for you, allowing you to focus on your medical treatments and future.
What Is Asbestos? What Diseases Are Caused by Exposure to Asbestos?
Asbestos technically refers to six different minerals, all of which have been confirmed as cancer-causing by the International Agency for Research on Cancer: chrysotile, actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite and tremolite. The most commonly used type of asbestos in the production of insulation and other fireproofing products in shipyards was chrysotile. This is also the type that is the most dangerous for humans. According to the National Library of Medicine, chrysotile asbestos is the main cause of malignant mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a terminal type of cancer that develops in the mesothelium, or the protective outer membrane that lines many of the organs. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. It affects the pleura, which surrounds the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include a dry cough, chest pain, trouble breathing and respiratory problems. The latency period, or the time between a victim’s exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma, is 20-60+ years. This means many shipyard workers do not realize they were exposed to asbestos until many years later.
In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos is also connected to a variety of other serious and chronic medical conditions. Asbestosis, for example, is a chronic lung condition that can cause a cough and shortness of breath. It is caused by a buildup of scar tissue and inflammation in the lungs due to asbestos fibers. Asbestos can also cause lung cancer, esophageal cancer, ovarian cancer, other cancers, and pleural thickening and plaques. Workers who are around asbestos often, including shipyard workers, are at a high risk of developing related diseases.
Asbestos in Shipyards
Certain occupations have historically come with a higher risk of exposure to asbestos than others, often due to the products and equipment used. One of these dangerous jobs is working in a shipyard, including both naval and non-naval shipyard workers. Asbestos was a popular ingredient used to build ships and water vessels due to its natural resistance to corrosion and heat. Unfortunately, this led to dangerous levels of asbestos being present in shipyards around the world, even today.
Common products that contain asbestos and are found in shipyards are:
- Adhesives and glues
- Boiler cladding
- Floor tiles
- Furnace firebricks
- Pipe insulation
- Shipbuilding materials
- Ship insulation
- Wall panels
- Welding materials
If any asbestos-containing product in a shipyard is disturbed or damaged, it could release asbestos dust into the air that may be breathed in by workers. At-risk shipyard workers include longshoremen, shipbuilders, insulators, welders, boilermakers, electricians, construction workers, oil and gas workers, U.S. Navy members, painters, and pipefitters. In addition, workers’ family members may be at risk of secondhand asbestos exposure due to particles getting stuck on a worker’s gear, clothing, hair and skin and being brought home.
What to Do if You Were Exposed to Asbestos at a Shipyard
There are laws, regulations and rules in place to help protect shipyard workers and other at-risk employees from being exposed to asbestos on the job. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for toxic exposure in shipyards. These standards address the containment and removal of materials containing asbestos, the demolition of vessels where asbestos is present, asbestos emergency cleanup procedures, and more. Unfortunately, not all employers abide by these laws.
If you believe your employer at a shipyard failed to protect you from potential asbestos exposure, you can report current safety violations to OSHA. OSHA will send a representative to your place of employment to investigate the hazard. Sadly, many workers don’t realize they have been exposed to asbestos until many years later, after they are already diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. These employees still have the right to file lawsuits for being exposed at a shipyard by their employers.
A mesothelioma lawsuit could reimburse you for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Bringing a lawsuit requires proof of negligence, such as evidence that your employer failed to provide the proper protective gear to prevent asbestos exposure in a shipyard. You may have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim even without proof of employer negligence. If the shipyard where you worked has gone bankrupt, you could still file an asbestos trust fund claim in pursuit of compensation. An attorney can help you select the right legal option for you.
Free Asbestos Case Consultations | Call Bailey & Glasser, LLP at (866) 871-7971
Financial compensation may be available to shipyard workers or their family members who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Speak to an attorney about your legal rights during a free case consultation at Bailey & Glasser, LLP. Our asbestos attorneys can guide you through the legal process using our years of practice area experience and aggressive litigation strategies.
We are here for you and your family during this difficult time. Learn more by calling us at (866) 871-7971.