What are the most common maritime accidents?

Frank S. Clowney III

An injury suffered at sea can leave an individual facing significant hardships, and for a long time to come. The physical pain can leave a victim with limitations that make living normal life difficult, and the emotional toll can lead to loss of enjoyment of life and overwhelming stress. There are very real financial consequences, too, including massive medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost wages.

Although those who have been injured out at sea may be able to recover compensation for their damages through a Jones Act claim, a lot of maritime workers are left wondering how these accidents occur in the first place.

Common maritime accidents

There are a lot of ways that you can be hurt while out at sea. Here are some of the most common ways that workers end up suffering injuries:

  • Slipping and falling: The deck on any given vessel can be slippery and uneven. Given the uneasy footing that workers are often subjected to, it’s easy to see how someone could slip or trip, resulting in serious injuries such as broken bones, sprains, torn ligaments and head injuries such as skull fractures and concussions.
  • Falling overboard: This can occur out at sea in the blink of an eye. Those who end up in the water can suffer from hypothermia or even drown. Again, these accidents may be attributable to unsure footing as well as navigation in dangerous weather conditions.
  • Burns: A lot of people who perform their work aboard ships are in situations where they have to perform their duties near hot surfaces. This means that cooks and mechanics can be burned by hot oil, and others can suffer from electrical shock and chemical burns.
  • Repetitive stress injuries: A lot of work on a ship requires repetitive motion. This can lead to back, neck, shoulder, wrist and ankle injuries.
  • Becoming trapped: Ships are full of tight, enclosed spaces. As such, workers can quickly become trapped by shifting cargo, and they may be exposed to toxic chemicals and situations where they are deprived of oxygen.
  • Explosions: Sometimes, boilers explode, and compressors become so compromised as to blast apart. This can cause serious injuries and death.
  • Mooring accidents: Operating ropes and chains that may be pulled by the weight of the ship can create a dangerous situation. That’s why most people who engage in mooring work have to be specially trained. Yet, even with this specialized training, these workers can still end up being severely injured in an accident.

The severity of the injuries suffered in one of these mishaps can run the gamut. However, many ship workers are left with long-term injuries that affect their ability to work and live the life that they once recognized as normal. If you find yourself in that position, you might want to start considering whether taking legal action is in your best interests.

Getting a legal ally on your side

There are a lot of legal nuances to these kinds of cases. That’s why it might be wise for you to reach out to a legal professional to discuss your case. By doing so, you might be able to avoid common mistakes made in these sorts of claims, thereby maximizing your chances of succeeding and recovering the compensation that you need and deserve. Therefore, before embarking on your legal endeavors, we encourage you to fully research your representation options so that you can choose the advocate who is right for you and your set of circumstances.