Shipfitters at great risk for asbestos exposure leading to mesothelioma
A client writes us about her mother who died of mesothelioma two years ago after working in a Brooklyn navy yard as a “shipfitter” during WWII:
"My mother was diagnosed with mesothelioma and lung cancer and died in July, 2006, at the age of 85. During WWII she worked in Todd's Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York, as a shipfitter/shipfitter’s helper, where she probably was exposed to asbestos. Can I file a posthumous suit on her behalf?"
Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related disease. It is very likely her mother died from asbestos exposure at the shipyard. Naval shipyard workers, especially during WWII, gave their best years to keeping America strong. Sadly, decades later, many would get sick from the asbestos they worked with on the job.
During the 20th century, sea-going vessels had asbestos insulation throughout the hull on every deck, especially in the engine room. A naval ship may still contain substantial amounts of friable, or crumbling, asbestos.
Long dormant period
Diseases associated with asbestos exposure – mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis – generally do not appear for 20 to 40 or more years after initial exposure, so even people who haven't worked in a shipyard in recent years may still be at risk for developing mesothelioma. That was the case with this client’s mother.
Medical studies have shown that of workers with at least 20 years of naval shipyard experience, 86% have developed an asbestos-related disease. At least one-third of all mesothelioma cases today trace their origins to shipyard work.
From shipfitter to mesothelioma patient
A “shipfitter” is a worker who fits together the structural portions of a ship by either welding or by riveting. It’s a marine occupational classification used in the Navy and among ship builders. The term shipfitter applies mostly to certain workers at commercial and naval shipyards during the construction or repair phase of a ship.
The varied tasks of a shipfitter all have one thing in common -- they all carry a danger of asbestos exposure.
In 2007, the widow of a former shipyard worker sued the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products he used in his 31-year career at Newport News Shipyard. He died in 2006, two years after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. His widow was awarded $5.5 million in damages.
Mesothelioma law firm for compensation
Weitz & Luxenberg has protected the legal rights of workers for 25 years – longer than most law firms in the nation. And in that time the firm's mesothelioma lawyers have won several billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and seek FREE legal guidance and answers to your concerns, please notify us through the communication form below. We will pursue your claim with vigilance to help you pay for medical bills, future and past lost wages, and damages. There is no cost to you until we win a settlement or a verdict.