About Jones Act Claims: Leukemia & Cancer from Refined Petroleum and Chemical Products

Articles Dec 4, 2015

About Jones Act Claims: AML Leukemia & Cancer from Refined Petroleum and Chemical Products

Working in the maritime industry is a risky and demanding occupation.  While many are injured by the heavy equipment and dangerous machinery on cargo ships, fishing boats, tugs, barges, drilling rigs, and other maritime vessels.  Many others that work on tankers and barges carrying benzene, toluene, naphtha, gasoline, xylene, jet fuel, and other refined petrochemicals are also injured due to the inhalation and exposure to these chemical fumes, vapors, and the product itself.

These illnesses and diseases from benzene, naphtha, toluene, xylene and other refined hydrocarbons  may include:

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia / Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML Leukemia)
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome or Myelodysplasia (MDS)
  • Aplastic Anemia (AA)
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • Blood Cancers / Bone Marrow Cancer
  • Certain Lymphomas
  • Silicosis
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Asbestos Lung Cancer /Mesothelioma

Protections for Maritime Workers

The Jones Act is a federal law that protects crew members on inland water vessels, barges, crude oil tankers, and other vessels who are injured, or die while working on a ship or vessel. Recognizing that individuals who work at sea face unique perils, Congress established the Jones Act to give seamen special legal protections and remedies. The Act covers a range of maritime employees, including individuals who work on ships, boats, tankers, jack-up rigs, tugs, fishing vessels, chemical, and petroleum barges, and other navigable vessels as well as certain floating and motorized structures.

Under the Jones Act, employers have a legal duty to provide their workers with a reasonably safe work environment. If an employer fails to meet this duty and a worker suffers an injury, becomes ill, or dies, the employer can be held legally liable. In the maritime industry, an unsafe workplace can lead to serious accidents and fatal injuries. In the course of their daily duties, many maritime workers are exposed to toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials, such as:

  • Refined Petroleum & Chemical Products
  • Aromatic Hydrocarbons (Vapors and Dermal Exposures)
  • Crude Oil
  • Naphtha
  • Toluene
  • Benzene
  • Xylene
  • Gasoline
  • Jet Fuel
  • Aviation Fuels
  • Asbestos

Crew members and other individuals who work in the maritime or shipyard industry can develop serious illnesses such as AML leukemia and cancer when they breathe in toxic vapors or their skin is exposed to certain toxic chemical products. Oftentimes workers may not even know they have inhaled toxic fumes in the air or absorbed chemicals through their skin. Because so many of the products used in the maritime industry are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing), prolonged exposure can result in serious and deadly health consequences for maritime workers.

Jones Act Lawsuits Provide Legal Relief for Leukemia & Cancer

Seamen who develop AML leukemia, MDS, or other forms of leukemia or cancer as a result of their exposure to benzene and other refined petroleum and chemical products in the workplace may be entitled to collect financial compensation from their employers and other responsible parties.  Under the Jones Act, when a seaman becomes ill in the course of his employment, the employer must provide the seaman with maintenance and cure benefits.  Additionally, if the seaman’s illness can be attributed to negligence on the part of an employer, the seaman may have the right to file a Jones Act negligence claim against the employer, vessel, or barge owner,  and other legal actions against third-party contractors, suppliers, distributors and manufacturers of the dangerous products.  If the seaman prevails in his lawsuit, he can recover damages similar to those in a traditional personal injury case, including medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life.

Maritime cases involving asbestos lung cancer and AML leukemia and other cancers are complex and are best handled by an experienced maritime injury lawyer.  When you work with a qualified maritime injury law firm, your lawyer will explain your rights and review your case to determine all forms of relief you may be entitled to under the Jones Act and other maritime laws.

For more information, contact David P. Willis, a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer by calling toll-free, 1-800-GOT HURT.

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