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Understanding Maritime Workers’ Legal Rights After an AML Leukemia Diagnosis

Barge Injuries Nov 23, 2022

For barge cleaners and other maritime workers who are exposed to gasoline, diesel, and other hazardous substances on the job, the risk of developing AML leukemia is a very real concern. Prolonged exposure to these hazardous substances is known to cause AML leukemia, and many workers in the maritime industry are exposed to these substances on a daily basis.

If you are a barge cleaner or other maritime worker and you have been diagnosed with AML leukemia, it is important to know your legal rights. The Jones Act and other federal laws protect maritime workers, and those who have been diagnosed with AML leukemia may be entitled to significant financial compensation.

Understanding the Long-Term Financial Costs of AML Leukemia

Being diagnosed with AML leukemia can lead to many long-term financial costs. According to a study published by the American Association for Cancer Research, AML leukemia is one of the most expensive cancers to treat, with an annualized average cost of $239,400. The HealthTree Foundation also reports that, “[t]he annual average estimated costs for initial, and treatment stage [are] estimated to be $42,000, and $5,000 respectively.”

Along with the costs of diagnosis and treatment, an AML leukemia diagnosis can lead to other long-term financial costs as well. For example, barge cleaners and other maritime workers who are living with AML leukemia will typically incur costs including:

  • Prescription medication costs
  • Costs for in-home care and support services
  • Costs for cleaning, yard care and other necessary services
  • Loss of income and benefits

For many individuals and families, these costs can become unbearable without financial support. Fortunately, as discussed below, many maritime workers who have been diagnosed with AML leukemia will be entitled to financial compensation for these costs—among others.

Understanding the Non-Financial Costs of AML Leukemia

Maritime workers who are diagnosed with AML leukemia may experience various non-financial costs as well. Workers and their families can also recover just compensation for these costs in many cases. Examples of the non-financial costs of AML leukemia include things like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement (due to surgery)
  • Loss of companionship and consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

When detected and treated promptly, AML leukemia can be beaten. But, remission remains a concern, and a significant percentage of AML leukemia diagnoses prove fatal. These factors impact the financial and non-financial costs of the disease as well—and they are factors that maritime workers and their families should consider when making decisions about their legal rights.

Understanding Your Rights As a Seaman Under the Jones Act

Due to the significant costs associated with AML leukemia, all barge cleaners and other maritime workers diagnosed with this disease should consult with a lawyer about their legal rights under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that entitles “seamen” to benefits and other compensation when they suffer work-related illnesses and injuries.

Under the Jones Act, seamen who have been diagnosed with AML leukemia can potentially pursue three types of claims:

Maintenance and Cure Benefits (“No Fault” Benefits)

Maintenance and cure benefits cover seamen’s medical costs and a small portion of their lost wages. While these are “no fault” benefits—meaning that employers are supposed to pay regardless of how their employees get sick or injured—collecting full maintenance and cure benefits can be challenging. This is especially true with expensive and long-term illnesses like AML leukemia.

Jones Act Negligence

If your employer is responsible for your AML leukemia, then you can seek additional compensation through a claim for Jones Act negligence. With Jones Act negligence claims, seamen can seek compensation for all of the financial and non-financial costs of their diagnoses. For example, if your employer made you work in a hazardous environment without adequate safety equipment, you could have a claim for full compensation.

Unseaworthiness

Seamen can also file claims for full compensation based on the unseaworthiness of the vessels on which they work. If you work on a barge or other vessel that is unsafe due to the presence of hazardous chemicals, vapors or fumes, this could justify a claim for full compensation as well.

5 Tips for Protecting Your Jones Act Rights if You Have AML Leukemia

If you have a claim for AML leukemia under the Jones Act, you should be careful to protect your legal rights. Here are five tips for maximizing your chances of filing a successful claim:

1. Report Your Diagnosis To Your Employer

To preserve your Jones Act claim, you need to report your diagnosis to your employer. It is best to do this as soon as possible. You can either fill out your employer’s injury report form (if it has one) or provide written notice. Make a copy of your report for your records.

2. Prioritize Your Treatment

As an AML leukemia patient, your treatment should be your top priority. Following your doctor’s medical advice will not only give you the best chance of beating your cancer, but it will also help avoid any unnecessary issues with your Jones Act claim.

3. Document the Costs of Your AML Leukemia

As you move forward, you should do your best to document all of the costs of your AML leukemia. This includes out-of-pocket expenses, bills you cannot afford to pay, lost earnings, your daily pain levels, and any other financial or non-financial consequences of your diagnosis.

4. Talk to a Lawyer

When filing a Jones Act claim for AML leukemia, it is important to have an experienced maritime lawyer on your side. You can get a free initial consultation, and you will want to begin relying on your lawyer’s advice right away.

5. Work with Your Lawyer to Seek Maximum Compensation

Once you hire a lawyer to represent you, you should work closely with your lawyer throughout the process. By helping your lawyer document the costs of your leukemia, you can give yourself the best chance to recover maximum compensation.

Contact Us for a Free and Confidential Consultation

If you need to know more about filing a Jones Act claim for AML leukemia, we invite you to get in touch. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call 800-468-4878 or request an appointment online today.

Willis Law Firm, Offshore & Maritime Lawyer
Nationwide Help - Licensed in Texas and New York
Principal Office
5005 Riverway Drive
Suite #160

Houston, Texas 77056

713-654-4040
1-800-468-4878
By Appointment Only
Willis Law Firm Portway Plaza
1717 Turning Basin Dr.
Suite #232

Houston, Texas 77029

713-930-1717
1-800-447-8400
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