Disability for Breathing Problems Developed in a Shipyard?
Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, you may be entitled to benefits for a work-related injury or disease, including asbestos-related lung diseases such as mesothelioma. Your employer's duty to provide disability compensation arises out of the employment relationship itself, so there is no need to show that the employer was at fault for exposing you to whatever caused your disability. Just because you did not work on a commercial vessel enough to be classified as a seaman, there are provisions for you other than under the Jones Act.
If it can be proved that your illness was developed as a direct result of your service to your employer and can be linked to the workplace, then you are entitled to benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Shipyards are known for carrying hazardous chemicals that, if ingested over long periods of time, can cause breathing deficiencies that require medical treatment. The severity of your breathing problem will depend on the amount of hazardous chemicals and substances in your shipyard as well as the amount of time you spent around them. As a shipyard worker, you are entitled to benefits under maritime law even though your work was not directly on a vessel. If you have developed a breathing problem, it would be best to contact your doctor immediately to ascertain the extent of your illness so that adequate treatment can be applied. Your illness may be mild but it could also be serious.
Your employer is obligated to pay your medical bills if your illness can be connected to your work at your shipyard workplace. Ask your employer if you are unsure whether you can be covered.