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Seaman's widow files wrongful death suit against former employer

It may surprise many people to learn that almost one-third of all reported cases of mesothelioma involve veterans of the military. Primarily, those in the U.S. Navy who served aboard ships and in shipyards were most affected. This is because asbestos, the fiber that has been linked to causing mesothelioma, was heavily utilized in the shipping industry.

This is not to say that civilians who worked aboard these vessels did not ultimately suffer the same fate as the veterans. A woman recently sued her late husband's former employer under the Jones Act, claiming that her husband developed mesothelioma and died after working as an electrician on several vessels.

The Jones Act was put in place to keep workers at sea safe. Under this law, employees on a ship have the right to sue their employer if negligence on the employer's part results in an injury or death. There are various requirements that must be met before a person can file for compensation under the Jones Act. A ship must be navigable, a worker must be considered to be a seaman at the time of exposure or injury and a person must be employed by the owner of a ship.

In this case, the woman believes her husband fit the criteria. Because the man's employers never warned him of the dangers of working around asbestos, the wife claims they should be held accountable. Further, instead of removing the dangerous products that put employees in danger, employers allowed the dangerous environment to persist.

The widow claims that her husband died as a result of this negligence. Additionally, she claims that the vessels on which her late husband worked were unseaworthy because of high level of asbestos-containing products on board. She is seeking $75,000 in damages for each of the seven counts in her complaint.

Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, "Widow sues husband's former employers over asbestos negligence," Bethany Krajelis, July 27, 2012

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