Maritime work is inherently risky, as workers are often exposed to a variety of hazardous conditions, including extreme weather, long hours, and dangerous machinery. Unfortunately, these risks can lead to potentially life-altering injuries. It’s important for maritime workers to understand the most common types of maritime injuries and their associated impacts in order to take steps to protect themselves from harm. If you’ve been injured and believe you are entitled to file a claim, contact our experienced Gulfport maritime lawyers as soon as possible for help.
Common Types of Maritime Injuries & Their Impacts
Maritime work is a dangerous profession, and injuries sustained while working on ships, boats, and other vessels can be severe and life-altering. The following are some of the most common types of injuries sustained by maritime workers:
Musculoskeletal injuries are one of the most common types of maritime injuries. These include joint sprains, muscle strains, tears or ruptures, back pain, and repetitive stress injuries that develop over time due to heavy lifting or other kinds of strenuous activity.
Head injuries are another potential danger faced by maritime workers. These include anything from mild concussions caused by falls or slips on wet decks to more serious traumatic brain injuries resulting from contact with heavy equipment or falling cargo.
Illness & Disease
Maritime workers also face an increased risk of illness and disease due to their exposure to harsh environmental elements such as salt water, toxins in the air, and extreme temperatures while at work. This can lead to conditions such as skin allergies, ear infections, bronchitis, asthma, respiratory illnesses, heat exhaustion/stroke, cold stress/hypothermia, and food poisoning if safety protocols are not followed properly onboard vessels.
Maritime Injuries and The Jones Act
The Jones Act was passed in 1920 and provides seamen with compensation for maritime workers while working on navigable waters that result from their employer’s negligence.
To be eligible to file a claim under The Jones Act, you must meet certain criteria. First, you must have been employed by an employer operating in navigation or commerce on navigable waters of the United States, such as working aboard a vessel, fishing boat, or barge.
Second, your injury must have occurred during the course of employment or because of something related to your job duties (e.g., loading cargo onto a vessel). Finally, you must be able to demonstrate that your employer was negligent and their negligence caused your injury.
The Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) and Maritime Injuries
The Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides workers with compensation for any injuries sustained by employees who are not considered “seamen” under the Jones Act. Therefore, if you were employed on a vessel but do not meet the requirements of being considered “a seaman” under the Jones Act, your claim may fall under the LHWCA instead.
What to Do After a Maritime Injury
It’s important to know the steps to take after a maritime injury so that you can get the help and compensation you need. After an accident, here’s what you should do:
Seek Medical Treatment
The most important thing to do is seek medical treatment for your injury as quickly as possible, even if it seems minor. Receiving medical care is not only important for your health, but also for making sure that your injury is properly documented. If you don’t seek medical attention right away, it could be more difficult to prove that your injury was caused while you were working.
Report Your Injury to Your Employer
Once you have received medical care, reporting your injury to your employer is essential. You should make sure they document the incident and provide any necessary paperwork related to the incident. This documentation should include details such as where and when the accident occurred, how it occurred, who witnessed it, and what type of treatment was administered afterward.
Contact an Attorney
You should also contact a maritime injury attorney right away if you have been injured while working in the maritime industry. An experienced Gulfport maritime lawyer can help determine whether you are eligible for compensation. Your lawyer will also understand how maritime laws apply in different cases related to both offshore and inland workers who have been injured while on duty.
Compensation Available Under The Jones Act
If you’re eligible for compensation under the Jones Act, there are several types of benefits available to you. These include lost wages (past and future), medical expenses (past and future), pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation services, death benefits if applicable, and more.
Compensation Available Under The LHWCA
The LHWCA provides payments for medical costs associated with your injury, such as hospitalization, physical therapy, medications, prosthetics, doctor visits, etc. The LHWCA also offers death benefits to family members of workers who die while working in these maritime-related fields. This includes payment of burial expenses and funeral costs as well as weekly payments over time to help with lost wages due to the death of a family member.
If you or someone you know has been injured while working in the maritime industry, contact us today to speak with an experienced Gulfport maritime injury lawyer.