Understanding the Long-Term Costs of Lifting Injuries At Work

Maritime Injuries Feb 28, 2023

Whether you work on a barge, tugboat, push boat or any other type of commercial vessel, there is a good chance that you will suffer a lifting injury at some point during your career. These are among the most common types of Jones Act claims we handle, and we regularly hear from deckhands and other seamen who have suffered serious lifting injuries while working.

If you’ve suffered a lifting injury, you may be tempted to ignore it. You may be willing to work through the pain, and you might think this is the best choice for you and your family. But, trying to work through a serious lifting injury can be a costly mistake. Not only can it lead to long-term health complications, but it can lead to other long-term costs as well.

Common Types of Lifting Injuries for Deckhands and Other Seamen

One of the first things to understand is that there are several different types of lifting injuries. While most people think of lower back pain as the main symptom of a lifting injury, injuries caused by lifting heavy objects on deck can occur throughout the body. For example, some of the most common types of lifting injuries for deckhands and other seamen include:

Back Strains – Back strains involve damage to the muscles surrounding the spine. They can occur at all levels, though they are most common in the lower back when they result from lifting. Common symptoms include pain that worsens with movement, difficulty bending over or standing up, and limited mobility.

Biceps Strains – Along with back injuries, arm injuries are also extremely common when lifting. One of the most common types of lifting-related arm injuries is a bicep strain. In the most severe cases, bicep strains can lead to tears, and these are injuries that may require surgery.

Herniated Discs – Herniated discs are spinal cord injuries that involve damage to the discs in between the vertebrae. These injuries can be very painful, and they can get worse if left untreated.

Knee and Ankle Injuries – Lifting heavy objects can also result in knee and ankle injuries. This includes injuries caused by overstress as well as injuries from twisting or landing heavily under the weight of a large object.

Rotator Cuff Strains – The rotator cuff is a bundle of muscles and tendons in the shoulder that connects the upper arm to the upper back. When lifting heavy objects, especially overhead, the strain involved can often cause significant damage.

Wrist Injuries – Wrist injuries caused by lifting heavy objects are also very common. Sprains, strains, tears and bone fractures can all cause severe pain, limited mobility, loss of strength and other issues.

These are just examples. Elbow injuries, IT band injuries, SLAP tears and various other types of injuries are all common lifting-related injuries for deckhands and other seamen as well. Regardless of the type of injury you’ve suffered, it is important to seek treatment promptly, and you should talk to your doctor to make sure you understand its long-term risks.

The Long-Term Costs of Suffering a Lifting Injury on the Water

In addition to talking to a doctor about your lifting injury’s long-term risks, you should also talk to a lawyer about its long-term costs. When dealing with a serious injury, you need to make informed decisions—and this includes making an informed decision about asserting your legal rights under the Jones Act.

What are the long-term costs you can incur as a result of a lifting injury at work? Typical costs include:

  • Medical Costs –  The cost of medical care is constantly rising. If you need surgery, ongoing treatment or physical therapy for your lifting injury (or all of the above), the long-term costs of your medical care could be substantial.
  • Lost Income – If you try to work through your lifting injury now, this could lead to pain and other complications that prevent you from working in the future. While your lifting injury should be covered under the Jones Act, costs you incur because you chose to work when you shouldn’t have won’t be covered.
  • Other Outof-Pocket Costs – Serious lifting injuries can lead to various other out-of-pocket costs as well. This includes everything from gas or other transportation costs for doctor’s visits to prescriptions and medical supplies—which you may need to buy for months or years.
  • Pain and Suffering – When talking about the long-term costs of lifting injuries, it is important to address the non-financial costs as well. Lifting with constant pain and physical limitations can make everything more difficult, and this can drastically reduce your quality of life.

These are all costs that a lawyer may be able to help you recover under the Jones Act. While maintenance and cure benefits are fairly minimal, injured seamen can hire a lawyer to help them seek additional compensation in many cases. If you have a claim for an unseaworthy vessel condition or Jones Act negligence, a lawyer can help you seek full compensation for the current and future costs of your lifting injury.

Making sure you recover compensation for your future costs is extremely important. These costs can far exceed the costs you incur through the date you resolve their claim. If you have a claim under for unseaworthiness and Jones Act negligence, an experienced lawyer may be able to help you recover just compensation for:

  • Medical bills for initial diagnosis and treatment
  • Medical bills for surgery
  • Bills for physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Loss of wages and benefits
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • All of the other out-of-pocket costs we discussed above
  • The day-to-day consequences of living with chronic pain and/or a physical disability

Discuss Your Lifting Injury Claim with a Jones Act Lawyer for Free

If you suffered a lifting injury while working on a barge, tugboat, push boat, or other vessel, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation about your legal rights under the Jones Act. To speak with a lawyer in confidence as soon as possible, call 800-468-4878 or request an appointment online now.

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