Injury Claims Among Maritime Workers

Our Lawyers Represent Maritime Workers Diagnosed with Job-Related Injuries and Occupational Diseases

All maritime jobs can be dangerous. From dangerous equipment and mechanical failures to the risk of being injured in a slip or fall, maritime workers face exposure to numerous health and safety hazards on the job. As a result, job-related injuries are a regular occurrence for maritime workers. Employees in all occupations suffer injuries, from longshoremen and dock workers to fishermen and roughnecks working in the open ocean. If you are a maritime worker and you have been injured on the job, you have clear legal rights, and you should speak with a lawyer promptly.

Experienced Legal Representation for All Types of Maritime Injury Claims

Our firm represents maritime workers who have suffered all types of job-related injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered any of the following, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation about your maritime injury claim under the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), or other applicable laws.

Amputations and Loss of Limbs

While losing a limb is unthinkable for most people, it is a very real risk for many maritime workers. Risks for these injuries include getting caught in ropes and lines, getting pulled into conveyor belts and other machines, and getting crushed by falling and shifting objects. Loss of digits (fingers and toes), in particular, is a genuine risk for maritime workers as well.

In some cases, loss of a limb or digit will occur in a traumatic accident. More often, however, maritime workers will lose limbs and digits due to amputations. They will suffer injuries that leave their limbs or digits beyond repair, and they will have no choice but to undergo surgery to have their damaged appendage removed.

Bone Fractures

Bone fractures are an extremely common injury in the maritime setting. While our bones are strong enough to withstand the rigors of ordinary daily living, they are not strong enough to withstand many of the physical stresses maritime workers’ bodies endure. Injuries that are particularly common include:

  • Broken fingers, hand bones, and wrists
  • Broken toes, foot bones, and ankles
  • Broken arms
  • Broken legs
  • Collar bone fractures
  • Rib fractures

While some bone fractures will heal with the proper setting, casting, and rest, others may require surgery. In some cases, a complete recovery will not be possible. Unfortunately, delays in treatment can reduce the likelihood of a full recovery, and in many cases, offshore maritime workers cannot immediately get the treatment they need.

Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can result from falls, impacts, near-drownings, and other accidents. Headaches, vision impairments, dizziness, disorientation, and confusion are all common symptoms. Unfortunately, many supervisors still are not familiar with the risks associated with brain injuries, and, as a result, they will discount workers’ complaints about these types of symptoms.

Common brain injuries in onshore, nearshore, and offshore maritime occupations include:

  • Brain Contusions (Bruises)
  • Concussions
  • Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAI)
  • Hematomas and Hemorrhages
  • Penetrating Injuries

When a maritime worker suffers a brain injury, prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical. The longer it takes for a worker to obtain treatment, the worse the effects of a brain injury can become.

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can result from fires, explosions, exposure to extreme heat, exposure to electrical current, and exposure to toxic chemicals. While burns can vary widely in terms of their severity, all burns are painful and have the potential for long-term or permanent effects. We represent maritime workers who have suffered:

  • First-Degree Burns – Burns on the outermost layer of the skin, resulting in redness, dryness, and pain.
  • SecondDegree Burns – Burns that go below the outermost layer of the skin, resulting in blistering and other effects.
  • ThirdDegree Burns – Burns that go through the full thickness of the skin, resulting in severe blisters, bleeding, and intense pain.
  • Fourth-Degree Burns – Burns that char the skin, causing it to turn black, and that may even affect the muscle tissue and bones.

Crush Injuries

Crushing injuries are common in several maritime occupations. These injuries can cause tissue and nerve damage, broken bones, and even loss of limbs. Crushing injuries can also cause what is known as muscle cell death, which can result in loss of strength, mobility, and bodily function.

From limbs crushed under cargo containers to maritime workers’ entire bodies being crushed in between objects on vessels, platforms, and rigs, crushing incidents are common and extremely dangerous. Treatment needs can include reconstructive surgery, rest, and long-term rehabilitation, and many workers who suffer crushing injuries will experience permanent disabilities.

Electrocution

Maritime workers can be exposed to dangerous electrical currents in various circumstances. This includes not only electrical engineers, technicians, and others who work specifically in electrical applications but also other maritime workers who work with powered equipment or near electrical wiring.

Electrocution can cause pain, burns, numbness, weakness, unconsciousness, and various other effects. It can also cause spasms, seizures, and cardiac arrest. Despite the fact that no maritime workers should face electrocution risks on the job, these risks are prevalent in many onshore, nearshore, and offshore environments.

Head Injuries

Common head injuries among maritime workers include brain injuries, jaw fractures, skull fractures, facial injuries, and injuries to the nose and eyes. These injuries can result from falls, collisions, swinging or flying objects, equipment malfunctions, coworkers’ mistakes, and various other factors. Treatment needs vary based on the nature and severity of the injury, and these factors will determine the long-term consequences maritime workers face as well.

Stitches, sutures, bandages, eye patches, surgery, and rest may be necessary to treat different head injuries. For maritime workers who suffer head injuries at work, getting appropriate treatment and enough rest are extremely important, and injured workers must ensure that they receive the benefits or other compensation they need to cover their injury-related losses.

Hearing Loss and Inner Ear Injuries

Hearing loss and inner ear injuries can result from exposure to loud sounds, pressure, water, and other hazards. In some cases, traumatic events can cause immediate and permanent hearing loss (i.e., in the case of a close-proximity explosion), while other forms of ear trauma can lead to gradual hearing loss and other disabilities over time.

Our ears do more than just hear. They also work with the eyes and other parts of the vestibular system to help us balance, walk and do our jobs. As a result, injuries to the inner ear that impact the vestibular system can cause disabilities that prevent maritime workers from returning to their pre-injury employment.

Occupational Diseases

Maritime workers face the risk of exposure to a wide range of occupational diseases. For example, noxious fumes from oil, gas, welding materials, cleaning chemicals, and other hazardous substances can cause diseases with long-term, permanent, or even fatal effects. Sadly, many maritime workers who are diagnosed with occupational diseases will experience cognitive effects that prevent them from leading normal, happy, and healthy lives.

In addition to cognitive effects, many of the common occupational diseases in maritime settings affect the lungs. As a result, workers who contract these diseases can experience difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and other dangerous effects. Some occupational diseases can also cause cancer, and any delays in the diagnosis of cancer can significantly increase the risks involved.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very real concern for maritime workers who go through severe trauma or have near-death experiences. Nightmares and flashbacks are often among the first signs of PTSD, and they may gradually lead to anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and other psychological effects. Even though PTSD does not have the physical effects of other maritime injuries, workers who have PTSD can still recover just compensation for the effects of their condition.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious of all maritime injuries. While the spine is a key component of the musculoskeletal, nervous, and respiratory symptoms, it is also fragile, and injuries to the spine can have severe and permanent consequences. We represent maritime workers who have been diagnosed with spinal cord injuries, including:

  • Anterior cord syndrome
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome
  • Central cord syndrome
  • Full or partial paralysis
  • Herniated discs
  • Lower back pain
  • Vertebrae fractures

Vision Impairments and Blindness

Many different types of onshore and offshore accidents can cause maritime workers to suffer vision impairments and blindness. This includes fires, explosions, toxic chemical splashes, spills, falls, collisions, and facial trauma. While many workers suffer vision impairments and blindness due to eye injuries, these conditions can also result from accidents that result in brain trauma without injuring the eyes directly.

Schedule a Free Consultation about Your Maritime Injury Claim

If you or someone you love has suffered a maritime injury, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. Our firm represents injured maritime workers nationwide. To speak with an experienced lawyer about your legal rights in confidence, call 800-468-4878 or send us your contact information online today. 

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Willis Law Firm, Offshore & Maritime Lawyer
Nationwide Help - Licensed in Texas and New York
Principal Office
5005 Riverway Drive
Suite #160

Houston, Texas 77056

713-654-4040
1-800-468-4878
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1717 Turning Basin Dr.
Suite #232

Houston, Texas 77029

713-930-1717
1-800-447-8400
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