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Ex-shipyard employee compensated for asbestos-related cancer

An 85-year-old ex-shipyard worker has been awarded undisclosed compensation for lung cancer he developed as a result of years of exposure to asbestos in the workplace. He complained about trouble breathing in January of this year, and was later diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer was the end result of his prolonged exposure to asbestos during approximately 40 years laboring in various shipyards. Employees subjected to asbestos in the workplace in North Carolina, as elsewhere, often contract debilitating illnesses as a result and may be entitled to workers' compensation.

In this case, the now elderly man first began work as an apprentice in a shipyard in 1941 at the age of 15. None of his employers, he asserts, ever warned him of the hazard to his health and safety posed by the asbestos present in the workplace, or made any real effort to provide him with protection against asbestos exposure.

The diseases known to result from workplace asbestos exposure are serious and often even fatal. A number of jurisdictions consider mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos, to be an occupational disease, but other jurisdictions do not. Having an ill employee qualify for employer-paid medical benefits through workers compensation is vital to making sure that they are able to receive prompt medical attention.

It is also possible to file third-party lawsuits against contractors, suppliers, and product manufacturers who may also bear some responsibility for employees' exposure to asbestos in the workplace. The problem is that such lawsuits often take years to resolve. Employees and ex-employees diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer need help immediately to deal with the physical and financial damage these illnesses can cause.

Source: Chronicle Live, "Former Tyneside shipyard worker gets cancer payout," July 20, 2012

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