All too often, mariners are exposed to unnecessary risk while working in the maritime industry. Serving vessels in harbors, sounds, near-coastal waters, and offshore can be a dangerous job. But seamen are still entitled to a safe place to work. Despite that fact, numerous forms of maritime injuries occur annually—often due to negligence.
The severity of a head injury can range from slight to severe and even fatal. If you have suffered a head injury due to a workplace accident, you should be aware of your rights and the compensation to which you are entitled under maritime common law. Because of the nature of the work, head injuries are widespread in the maritime business. Working on a ship, in a dry dock, or anywhere with restricted spaces and moving equipment increases your chances of suffering a head injury.
Maritime workers perform tasks around cranes, crawl through cramped spaces, and walk-through entrances with low hanging beams. Anyone who has ever been inside a tugboat, ferry engine room, or barge will attest that the doorways and maintenance holes are tight, if not completely unreasonable.
Head injury occurrences can usually be avoided through proper safety equipment, improved vessel design, and better training. Carelessness of a vessel owner or maritime employer may be responsible for resultant maritime injuries. Head injuries can occur when a vessel is unsafe or is not suited for its intended purpose. Unseaworthy conditions aboard a vessel can include malfunctioning equipment, incompetent crew, and unsecured elements of the ship that fall loose and strike a worker in the head.
Head injuries can result in fractures or penetration of the skull, hemorrhage and wounds, loss of consciousness, vomiting, exhaustion, neck stiffness or migraine, loss of limb movement, or strange behavior are all obvious indicators. Even if no symptoms appear immediately, there could be damage or difficulties later on, such as swelling or bleeding in the brain.
The intensity of the injury and the resultant damage determines the treatments for a head injury. Irrespective of immediate symptoms, any blow to the head should be addressed. It is often essential to seek emergency medical help. Rest and painkillers may be required, as well as blood thinners to avoid blood clotting and seizures, and possibly surgery to ease pressure on the brain or halt bleeding, depending on the situation.
Head injury complications can be significant, but they don't always show up immediately. This is why it is critical to seek medical assistance as soon as possible, no matter how minor the injury appears to be. Hematomas, comas, fluid build-up in the brain, nerve damage, blood vessel damage, stroke, infections, and cognitive and memory deficits are potential complications. Additional medical issues may develop if head injuries are not treated promptly.
The following are the most common causes of head injuries in the maritime industry:
Failure supply workers with protective gear and features such as guardrails, railings, protective clothing, and protective gear
Accidents involving slipping and falling
Crane and cargo-related mishaps
Accidents involving conveyor belts
You have rights under federal maritime law if you suffer a head injury in the workplace. There are rules in place that may entitle you to compensation whether you worked offshore, on board a vessel as a seaman, or in a harbor. Consult a seasoned maritime attorney at Mariner Law, PLLC to assist you in navigating these laws and filing a claim.
Mariner Law, PLLC is well-versed maritime head injuries, concussions, and wrongful death. Admiralty Lawyer Adam Deitz understands that dealing with a head injury can be overwhelming for the injured mariner and his or her family. Contact (253) 600-2531 now for a free consultation about options for help under the Jones Act, LHWCA, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure. The firm proudly serves mariner clients in Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and nationwide.