Mesothelioma Lawyer for Shipyard Workers

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Mesothelioma Lawyer for Shipyard Workers

Mesothelioma is a devastating form of cancer that is primarily caused by asbestos exposure. While various occupations may expose workers to this hazardous substance, the risk to shipyard workers is considered to be exceptionally high. The high heat and fire risks in ships made asbestos a common material in ship construction. That placed workers at an increased risk of developing health complications. Cases of mesothelioma among shipyard workers will likely increase, as more people begin developing symptoms decades later.

It is important for workers vulnerable to asbestos exposure to understand what the risks are, and what their available legal avenues for recovery are, should they be diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.

The Risk for Shipyard Workers

As of 2019, the private shipbuilding industry provided more than 107,000 jobs across the country. More than 150 private shipyards are located across 29 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and more than 300 yards work on repairs but are not actively engaged in shipbuilding. These figures do not include all the military workers exposed to asbestos in ships through government shipyard positions.

Historical Use of Asbestos in Shipyards

In the past, asbestos was highly valued for its resistance to heat and fire, which is why asbestos fireproofing is a common source of exposure. Asbestos was also the preferred insulation material. The use of asbestos increased in war times, especially between World War II and the Vietnam War. Its utility in these settings put countless shipyard workers at risk of asbestos exposure for decades.

Modern-Day Risks

Even though the dangers of asbestos are well-known today, older ships and shipyard environments still contain asbestos-laden materials. These pose significant risks to workers involved in repair, maintenance or demolition activities, potentially causing life-threatening conditions like mesothelioma.

Legal Options for Recovery

Depending on your situation, you might have several options for financial recovery, from workers’ compensation to asbestos trust fund payouts. 

Workers’ Compensation

The first legal option usually considered is workers’ compensation. The upside is workers’ compensation can cover medical expenses. Unfortunately, it does not reimburse noneconomic damages like pain and suffering. 

While a workers’ compensation claim can provide immediate financial relief for medical expenses and lost wages, it’s essential to understand that workers covered by workers’ compensation are generally barred from suing their employer in most states. Those with serious health issues like mesothelioma due to occupational asbestos exposure may benefit from looking into other options for additional recovery, such as lawsuits against other third parties.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

A personal injury lawsuit filed against the liable parties can often benefit eligible parties more than workers’ compensation claims. This route allows you to seek compensation not only for medical bills and lost wages but also for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other types of damages. 

Sometimes, you can pursue workers’ compensation benefits and a personal injury lawsuit. That option is usually available when another third party, such as a manufacturer, shares liability for asbestos in shipbuilding. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can guide you through this complex process and advise whether this is an option.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Another potential avenue for obtaining compensation is through asbestos trust funds. Companies that are linked to asbestos exposure must establish these funds when filing for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the payment from these funds is often much less than what you might receive through a personal injury lawsuit. The upside is the payout is often much quicker than waiting on asbestos lawsuit settlements. 

VA Disability Benefits

Military veterans who worked in shipyards may have an additional avenue for compensation—VA disability benefits. This type of aid is exclusive to veterans and is separate from other legal remedies like workers’ compensation or personal injury lawsuits. These benefits can offer significant financial relief and can be used alongside other recovery types.

What to Do If You’ve Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

Protecting your rights is essential if you’re a shipyard worker diagnosed with mesothelioma. You should:

  1. Consult a specialist: The sooner you get diagnosed and begin treatment, the better your chances of survival.
  2. Document your exposure: Maintain records of your employment history, tasks and any incidences of asbestos exposure.
  3. Seek legal advice: Consult a mesothelioma lawyer to evaluate your options for financial recovery through personal injury claims, workers’ compensation and asbestos trust funds.

It’s also helpful to seek emotional support. Join an online group or attend an in-person meeting. Many find these emotional support groups to be beneficial coping mechanisms.

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Choosing the Right Mesothelioma Lawyer

Choosing a proficient mesothelioma lawyer is crucial for navigating the complicated maze of legal options available. An experienced lawyer will help you weigh the pros and cons of each legal route—workers’ compensation, personal injury lawsuits, asbestos trust funds, VA disability benefits or a combination of these—and help you make an informed decision.

The life-altering diagnosis of mesothelioma brings not only health concerns but also financial ones. The presence of mesothelioma in shipyard workers is concerning. It’s best to contact a lawyer immediately if you are a current or previous shipyard worker suffering from mesothelioma. Understanding the range of legal options is crucial for securing the best possible financial future. 

At Flint Cooper, we have the skills and experience necessary to represent you in a mesothelioma-related claim. We understand how to build a strong case and will work tirelessly to protect your rights. We have decades of experience and have represented clients all across the country. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help.

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