Since the 1920s, asbestos was used in nearly every aspect of manufacturing. For this reason, many naval ships were literally filled with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), which led to thousands of sailors contracting mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.
After long voyages onboard naval ships, the risk that asbestos poses to seamen is extreme. Asbestos was used to fireproof and insulate many materials, could be found in the walls and on the floors of many naval ships. It was used in gaskets, valves, furnaces and boilers. Asbestos was even sprayed in engine room and along corridors to prevent rust and fire.
When asbestos-containing materials erode, or are worked on with enough force, they release asbestos fibers into the air. These fibers can cause permanent and irreversible damage to a person’s lungs. Asbestos kills surrounding cells, and these dead cells can harden and develop into asbestosis which can significantly shorten a person’s life span. Furthermore, the dead cells caused by asbestos release toxins that are responsible for the growth of tumors, causing the disease mesothelioma.
The symptoms of asbestosis and mesothelioma include:
Chest and abdominal pain
Shortness of breath
The Jones Act
The Merchant Marine Act, also commonly referred to as the Jones Act, allows sailors to hold ship owners accountable for damages they’ve suffered while working onboard. If you believe you were exposed to asbestos while at sea, seek medical attention from a licensed physician as soon as possible. Make sure to keep any documents that show you were exposed to asbestos, and that you’ve suffered damages as a result, this could be in the form of medical bills, ship reports, time lost from work, etc.
Only an experienced asbestos injury lawyer will be able to represent your interests so that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Specifically, your lawyer should be able to track down who is responsible for your injuries, prove what damage your injuries have caused, and be able to hold the people who caused your injuries accountable in court if necessary.