The maritime industry tends to be a high-risk working environment where workers are more likely to suffer injuries or accidents then almost any other industry.
Know Your Rights
Every worker has the right to the utmost safety that can be allowed and many situations of maritime injury can be prevented with the right training and precautions.
Although it can be a very financially stable and rewarding career for many, almost every role in the maritime industry comes with some danger. When sailors, seamen, and offshore oil and gas workers head out to sea they can be exposed to a number of dangers including rough weather, harsh sea conditions, careless coworkers and these conditions can frequently lead to injuries and accidents.
Why Are Maritime Injuries Different Under The Law?
Individuals who work in the maritime industry are usually not covered by traditional workers’ compensation insurance. Instead the Jones act, a federal law, entitles these workers to file personal injury claims against their employer based on negligence.
Normally if a personal injury claim is filed for negligence the other party’s negligent actions must be the direct and majority cause of the injury. However in regards to the Jones act, maritime workers do need to prove that their employer was negligent but this negligence does not have to be the only or main cause of their injuries. All that a worker would need to show is that their employer’s negligence played some part, no matter how small or slight, in causing their injuries.
Common Types Of Maritime Injuries
Falling overboard is an all too common accident for maritime workers, and more than many other types of accidents leads to fatalities. When seamen fall overboard out at sea they may never be found again and may die from drowning. Even when rescued, these falls overboard can lead to serious cases of hypothermia.
Falls are not limited to ships and fishing vessels, though. Falls into the water may also occur at docks and in the crowded waters of a port. In these cases, workers may drown, but they also run the risk of being crushed between boats or between a boat and a dock.
Head, Neck, and Back Injuries
Injuries to the head, neck, and back are among the most common in the maritime industry when accidents occur. Moving cargo in a port, for instance, can lead to workers being struck in the head. Slips and falls often result in back or neck injuries. Even seemingly small bumps on the head can end up being serious. The worst of these injuries result in lifelong health problems like chronic pain or even paralysis.
As terrible as it sounds, maritime workers are at risk for losing a limb on the job or requiring an amputation due to an accident. Working with equipment is a common cause for this, including getting a limb stuck in a fishing trawling winch or a conveyor belt. Lost limbs can be seriously traumatizing and may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Losing a limb may also mean that a worker can never return to his original job.
Maritime workers necessarily work with cargo and often that cargo is a toxic chemical. When an accident occurs, workers are at risk of exposure to chemicals that may cause burns or respiratory illness. Flammable chemicals may start fires that can injure or kill workers.
Fire and Electrical Accidents
Both on ships and in port areas, electrical accidents and fires are possible. When electrical systems are not kept up to date or are not maintained, shocks and more serious accidents can happen. Electrical systems and other causes of fires can be devastating, especially on a ship at sea. When there is nowhere to go but overboard, these fires can lead to serious injuries and fatalities.
Repetitive Use Injuries
Many jobs on ships and in ports involve using the same movement over and over again. This can lead to repetitive use injuries, which cause damage, inflammation, and pain in joints, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Common areas of the body that maritime workers suffer these injuries include the back, neck, ankles, feet, and hips.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
These kinds of accidents can occur in any industry and in any workplace, but the consequences in maritime settings can be much more serious. There are a lot of moving parts in maritime work, with equipment, people, and cargo moving from place to place. This makes slipping, tripping, and falling all too common. This may often lead to minor or no injuries, but a fall can also be into a deep cargo hold on a ship or into the water with disastrous consequences.
Many different kinds of maritime accidents can lead to shoulder injuries: slip and falls, repetitive motion, equipment accidents, or being struck with cargo. Common shoulder injuries include joint dislocation, fractures and broken bones, tendinitis, and even arthritis caused by years of overuse of the shoulder joint.
How Can I Pursue Compensation For A Maritime Injury?
Every maritime worker has legal rights against employer negligence. If you or someone you love are a maritime worker and has been injured while working Select Justice can help you fight back and claim compensation.
A maritime worker who would like to pursue compensation from their employer after suffering an injury due to negligence should speak to an experienced maritime lawyer who has the expertise in this unique type of employer negligence process.
We have a number of experienced lawyers in maritime law in our network and we can connect you with the best legal counsel to give you personal advice and plan the best course of action to gain compensation.
Fill out this short form with your contact details and a brief description of your injury/accident. Please make sure you have relevant documents if needed (health and medical records, employment documentation, any documentation or testimony form co-workers, friends, or family) and someone from our team will follow up with you as soon as possible.
Select Justice is an absolutely free service that does not charge any money to advocate for injured individuals. During no part of the process with Select Justice will users be required to provide any monetary compensation or payment to the company.
You can email us email@example.com or call to get in touch with a team member. We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.