Concussions are common work injuries, especially in the offshore environment. While slips and falls are among the leading causes of work-related concussions, these traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can result from many other types of offshore accidents as well.
Even though concussions are classified as a “mild” form of TBI, they can still have long-term (and potentially costly) effects. As a result, offshore workers who suffer concussions need to be very careful about protecting their legal rights. With this in mind, here are seven important facts to know if you have suffered a concussion while working offshore:
Fact #1: Concussions Are Not “Minor” Injuries
While concussions may be classified as a “mild” form of TBI, this does not mean that they are “minor” injuries. Concussions require a prompt diagnosis, and adequate rest is essential to recovery. If you ignore your concussion, not only will this prolong your recovery, but it could also prevent you from recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
Fact #2: Concussions Present a Risk for “Second Impact” Syndrome
One of the biggest risks associated with ignoring a concussion is the risk of suffering from “second impact” syndrome. This is a medical condition that results from suffering another head injury while you are still recovering from a concussion.
While you are going through the recovery process, your brain is compromised. It is in a weakened state, and this means that it is more susceptible to damage. As a result, if you suffer another concussion—even a concussion that is milder than your first one—you could suffer more-severe trauma that is more likely to have long-term (or even permanent) effects.
Fact #3: Concussions Are Common Offshore Injuries
If you work offshore, it is important to be aware of the signs of a concussion. This is because concussions are common offshore injuries. If you are experiencing symptoms of a concussion, you should stop work immediately, and you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
As identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main symptoms of a concussion fall into four categories:
- Physical – Sensitivity to light or noise, dizziness, loss of balance, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
- Thinking and Memory – Difficulty concentrating, feeling groggy or slow, short-term memory loss and trouble thinking clearly.
- Social and Emotional – Feeling anxious or nervous, feeling irritable or agitated, feeling emotional and feeling sad.
- Sleep – Having trouble falling asleep, sleeping less than usual or sleeping more than usual.
Fact #4: Concussions Can Result from All Types of Offshore Accidents
One of the reasons why concussions are so common is that they can result from all types of offshore accidents. They can also happen on all types of vessels and on jack-up rigs. This includes accidents such as slips, trips and falls as well as accidents such as being struck by a falling object or an object that shifts in high seas.
While some of these accidents “just happen,” many are the result of unseaworthy vessel conditions and employer negligence. When you suffer a concussion offshore, determining the cause of the accident is important for determining your legal rights. While most offshore workers are entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, the types of compensation that are available under the Act depend on the specific cause of an offshore worker’s injury.
Fact #5: The Jones Act Provides Three Ways to Seek Financial Compensation for an Offshore Concussion
The Jones Act is somewhat unique among workers’ compensation statutes in that it provides the opportunity to file both “no-fault” and fault-based claims. Injured seamen who have fault-based claims can collect “no-fault” benefits while their fault-based claims are pending. The three ways that offshore workers can seek financial compensation for a concussion under the Jones Act are:
- Maintenance and Cure – These are “no-fault” benefits that are available regardless of the cause of your concussion (with a few rare exceptions) and that cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages.
- Jones Act Negligence – If your employer is responsible for your concussion (i.e. if you were injured as the result of another crew member’s mistake), you may be entitled to full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
- Unseaworthiness – In addition to filing a claim for negligence, it is also possible to recover full compensation for an offshore concussion by filing a claim based on the unseaworthiness of the vessel on which you were injured.
Fact #6: You Will Not Receive Any Compensation for Your Concussion Automatically
Even though the Jones Act provides injured seamen with clear legal rights, you will not receive any compensation for your concussion automatically. To recover the financial compensation you deserve, you need to take action—and you need to have a clear understanding of the type of claim (or types of claims) you have grounds to file.
Fact #7: The Costs of a Concussion Can Be Substantial
While recovering compensation for an offshore concussion isn’t easy, it is extremely important. The costs of recovering from (and coping with the long-term effects of) a concussion can be substantial. If you don’t secure the financial compensation you deserve, you could face significant financial losses, and you could be forced to live with the costs of your concussion unnecessarily.
Fortunately, while concussions can be costly, hiring a lawyer to protect your legal rights under the Jones Act is not. If you have a Jones Act claim for an offshore concussion, you can hire a lawyer on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you pay nothing out of pocket—and you pay nothing at all unless you win.
Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Lawyer for Free
If you need to know more about seeking financial compensation for an offshore concussion, we encourage you to contact us promptly. To discuss your legal rights under the Jones Act with an experienced lawyer in confidence, call us at 800-468-4878 or tell us about your accident online today.Share This