Intracranial Hematoma and Your Rights as an Injured Jones Act Seaman

Many head injuries result in nothing more than a minor bump on the head, but what happens when it turns into something more serious? Intracranial hematoma is a potentially life threatening head injury that can takes several weeks or longer for symptoms to surface. If you are a seaman, fisherman, crewmember or other maritime worker and have sustained a head injury in a maritime accident, you need to be aware of the signs of intracranial hematoma and your rights under the Jones Act.

What is intracranial hematoma?

According to the Mayo Clinic, intracranial hematoma is the result of ruptured blood vessels within your brain or between your skull and brain. Hematoma, which is defined as a collection of blood, compresses against the brain tissue. This type of head injury can occur from a maritime accident, such as a fall or blow from an object, when the fluid around the brain is unable to absorb the impact. The brain can become bruised from hitting the inside wall of the skull.

Intracranial Hematoma Symptoms

Even if you feel fine after sustaining a blow to the head or knocking your head on a hard surface after a fall, it does not mean that you are in the clear. It can take a while for the symptoms of an intracranial hematoma to begin. Pressure can build as the brain swells, which can create any of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Different size pupils
  • Limb weakness
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Convulsions

Treatment and Diagnosis of Intracranial Hematoma

Most doctors will assume that you are suffering from intracranial hematoma if you lose consciousness after an accident. An imaging test, such as a CT scan or MRI scan, will most likely be ordered to confirm your diagnosis. These scans will show any damage or swelling of the brain.

Surgery is usually required to treat hematoma. There are two basic types of procedures used, which are surgical drainage or craniotomy. Surgical drainage is utilized when the blood is localized and there is no excessive clotting. When the hematoma is significant, a craniotomy may be needed that will open the skull to remove the blood.

Compensation for a Maritime Injury

The recovery time for intracranial hematoma can be lengthy and will most likely require you to take a substantial amount of time away from work, if you are even able to return to work at all. If your maritime injury was the result of negligence or an unseaworthy vessel, you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. Contact an experienced maritime attorney to discuss your legal options. Our law firm offers a free, confidential consultation regarding your Jones Act case.