Not all injuries at sea are caused by a sudden fall or malfunctioning equipment. In many cases, an unsafe maritime work environment can cause illnesses or conditions that can take years to fully manifest, causing permanent disability long after exposure.

Common Occupational Diseases of Jones Act Seamen

Occupational Disease on a Tablet With a StethoscopeThe Jones Act provides maintenance and cure payments to workers who have suffered injuries on the job, including occupational illnesses. Of course, it may be more difficult to prove that an illness resulted from your work on a vessel. Our Jones Act injury attorneys can help you establish a link between your condition and your employment, giving you access to maintenance and cure payments, unseaworthiness claims, and other damages.

Jones Act workers could suffer a variety of occupational diseases or conditions on the job, including:

  • Cancer. Many lung cancer patients suffer from the effects of working around carcinogens, such as asbestos exposure that results in mesothelioma.
  • Toxic exposure. Contact with harmful solvents and substances (such as lead) can cause skin inflammation, neurological conditions, or increase the risk of autoimmune diseases.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries. Daily repetitive tasks can wear down the tissues of the body, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries, and arthritis.
  • Hearing damage. Consistent high noise levels can permanently impair (or cause total loss of) hearing.
  • Infections. Bacterial or fungal exposure can cause staph infections (including MRSA), mold-related illnesses, histoplasmosis, or pneumonia.
  • Organ damage. Lung damage from tuberculosis or pulmonary diseases may cause irreversible breathing difficulties, while industrial chemicals or overexertion could damage the heart.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with any of these diseases or a similar condition after working on a vessel, it’s vital that you contact the Jones Act attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or fill out our online contact form today to set up your no-obligation consultation. To learn more about these cases, download your complimentary copy of our guide, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.


Paul T. Hofmann
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Focused on personal injury, with an emphasis on maritime, railroad and construction worker tort claims.