Do you need a foreign injury lawyer? Have you been injured abroad or in a maritime accident?
The ocean is the most dangerous workplace on the planet. The US Shipbuilding Industry is found in nearly every state and employs more than 400,000 workers across the country. Marine workers find employment in a variety of fields, such as shipyards, offshore terminals, fishing and aquaculture, shellfish processing, commercial diving, and shipping. According to the Centers for Disease Control, shipping workers face a higher risk of death, injury and illness than the average American worker.
From slips and falls to equipment failure, collisions, fires, unsafe work practices and negligence, marine injuries typically require expensive and sometimes long-term medical care. Catastrophic injuries can mean that an injured worker who depends on his or her physical ability is unable to return to work. This can be devastating for families, especially if the worker is the sole breadwinner and can no longer make a living.
Injuries abroad are governed by different laws than those that apply to field workers. If you or someone you love is injured or becomes ill while working abroad, we encourage you to contact an injured foreign attorney at Montagna Maritime Law as soon as possible to request a free case evaluation.
Types of external injuries
When an offshore worker accepts a job in the offshore industry, it is understood that the job is physically demanding and carries inherent risks that are much more serious compared to working on land. Injuries are common and range from the smallest to the horrific and even fatal. In many cases, minor injuries can become more significant over time.
Some of the most common types of offshore injuries include:
Offshore Injury lawyerTraumatic brain injury – TBIs can be sustained in any number of ways. Offshore workers are consistently putting themselves in construction and industrial-like environments. A blow to the head from a slip or fall, or being struck by a swinging or unsecured cargo, can cause traumatic brain injury. This can result in permanent cognitive or personality changes.
Spinal and back injuries – Operating equipment, carrying heavy loads, and hard labor can be back-breaking work, requiring many hours of standing, lifting, twisting, and pulling. Offshore workers can sustain injuries from falls or being struck by vehicles or unstable loads. A back or neck injury can result in chronic pain, limited mobility, and in the most severe cases can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia. Even when medical attention is administered promptly, there can be long term disabilities associated with spinal and back injuries.
Slips and falls – Injuries experienced in slips and falls are among the most common — and can be serious. Accidents caused by slips and falls can result in concussions and contusions to broken bones. In some cases, slipping on the deck of a ship or platform can send you overboard, which immediately escalates into a very hazardous situation.
Loss of hearing – If hearing protection is not provided or mandated, it’s possible that over time, workers will be exposed to enough significant noise to diminish their hearing. In some cases, where work environments are loud enough, tinnitus or total hearing loss can develop.
Loss of limbs – Inadvertently walking into the path of a truck or forklift, working with cables under tensions, or getting a leg caught and crushed beneath unsteady cargo like coils, pipes, plates, and tires can lead to injuries requiring amputation. The loss of a limb is a life-changing injury and often requires a prosthetic.
Crushing injuries and broken bones – Offshore work usually entails a significant reliance on heavy machinery, either for construction or for day-to-day work. Injuries can often occur when this machinery breaks down or when safety procedures are not followed. These injuries often result in broken or crushed bones. Crushing injuries can also result in damage to internal organs and create life-threatening situations.
Hypothermia and frostbite – Offshore and maritime employees often work in extreme environments and at all times of the day and night. This means that offshore workers are often exposed to extremely cold conditions, which can cause hypothermia or frostbite. These dangers are exacerbated by exposure to the water, either through harsh conditions or a fall overboard.
Drowning – A fall overboard can quickly escalate into a life-threatening injury, especially if recovery is not immediate. Additionally, hypothermia can become an issue even in relatively warm waters.
Lung damage – When safety procedures are not followed or not enforced, or when accidents cause spills, workers can suffer serious chemical injuries. When these chemicals are inhaled, severe and long term lung damage can occur. In certain cases, exposure to high quantities of these chemicals can become immediately life-threatening. In other cases, smaller exposures can result in smaller injuries that can become chronic or cumulative.
Fatalities – Each year, offshore workers tragically die in accidents along the East Coast of the United States. If you have lost a loved one who died as a result of an accident or negligence, you have a right to seek damages for their death.
CLAIMING COMPENSATION FOR OFFSHORE INJURIES
A serious injury offshore can be life-altering, especially if it’s classified as catastrophic. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances that contributed to them, you may be entitled to compensation for:
Lost earnings – A claim for lost wages can be very important for injured offshore workers and their families. If you are no longer able to work because of your injury, you can seek damages for the earnings you have lost, are losing, and will lose as a result of your injury.
Medical expenses – If you’ve suffered a serious injury offshore, there’s every chance your medical bills are piling up. You may be able to claim present expenses as well as anticipated future medical expenses. Claims may include costs for surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, mental health care, and transportation costs for receiving treatment.
Pain and suffering – This can be broken down into physical and mental pain and suffering: The pain of your actual physical injuries, as well as the pain and suffering from scarring, disfigurement, and ongoing complications; and the mental pain and suffering, including mental anguish, stress, anxiety, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Additionally, if you qualify as a Jones Act seaman you are entitled to Maintenance and Cure, which is a basic right of all seamen. If you’ve suffered a work-related in