Shoulder injuries, like back and neck injuries, may happen in labor-intensive settings like the marine transportation industry. In fact, 7.5 million doctor visits in 2007 reported shoulder pain or injury. Though back injuries may be the most common injuries aboard vessels, shoulder injuries still happen too often.
The majority of shoulder injuries are avoidable with proper safety training, procedures, and equipment. Many U.S. maritime employers, however, are negligent in maintaining a safe environment at sea—especially in the North Pacific, Bering Sea, and the Gulf of Alaska.
When working on ships, tugboats, barges, derricks, ferries, and fishing vessels, seamen regularly sustain arm and shoulder injuries. The Jones Act and Federal Maritime Law protect crew members who are wounded while working onboard ships. Mariners with injured shoulders may be eligible for maintenance and cure benefits. These no-fault benefits include the opportunity to have your employer pay for all of work-related-injury medical expenditures. Seamen have the right to choose their own doctors and to receive a daily living allowance until the medical condition becomes medically stationary.
Shoulder injuries often fall within one of two categories: those caused by sudden trauma and those caused by persistent tension. Working aboard an unseaworthy vessel can overly stress a mariner’s shoulders, whether working at the harbor, dock, shipyard, or on a ship, tugboat, barge, fishing vessel, or tankship. A mariner’s shoulders may suffer traumatic injury after contact with vessel equipment or after lifting, hauling, tugging, and turning daily. The following are some of the most common causes of maritime shoulder injuries:
Performing repetitive maritime duties with excessive overhead motion
Abnormal shoulder twisting or bending
Slipping, tripping, or falling
An incident involving lines or winches in which the arm and shoulder is violently jerked
Chains, steel rings, pulleys, and other vessel equipment or machinery slamming against the arm and shoulder at high speeds
Poor design, absence of nonskid surfaces, and missing or inadequate safety systems resulting in an unseaworthy vessel
Inadequate and insufficient safety training
The following are examples of common maritime shoulder injuries that may require assistance of an offshore injury lawyer:
Tendonitis. Tendonitis is an injury of the tendons in the shoulder produced by repeated lifting and throwing activities.
Broken or Fractured Bones. When a worker falls or is struck by a falling object, the bones in his shoulder can be cracked or fully broken.
Shoulder Dislocation. When the upper arm bone separates from the joint, the shoulder becomes dislocated. Overuse of the shoulder joint can cause a partial or complete dislocation, but it can also happen quickly as a result of an offshore accident.
Workers who have suffered maritime injuries should seek medical help as quickly as possible. A mariner’s treating physician will determine the best treatment options, which may include medication, surgery, physical therapy, or activity adjustments. The severity of the damage will determine the course of treatment.
Shoulder injuries caused by inadequate or sufficient safety training or any other sort of employer negligence may lead to available compensation for the injured mariner. Under the Jones Act and general maritime law, monetary damages may be available against a negligent employer, including lost earnings, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Again, it's critical to report maritime injuries to the captain or vessel owner and seek treatment as soon as possible. Then contact a seasoned Jones Act lawyer.
Mariner Law, PLLC is an experienced maritime wrongful death and personal injury law firm. Admiralty Attorney Adam Deitz can help you navigate your claim from investigation to litigation. Most shoulder injuries on ships might have been avoided if sufficient safety procedures had been taken—Mariner Law, PLLC can assist you in telling your story and seeking justice. Call now: (253) 600-2531. The firm proudly serves mariner clients in Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and nationwide.