Maritime Worker or Seaman with a Closed Head Injury

The daily tasks of a seaman or maritime worker can be strenuous and often dangerous. Rough seas, defective equipment and machinery, slippery surfaces and old, worn-down vessels all contribute to the perils a seaman faces when working offshore. Maritime workers frequently find themselves victims of serious injuries – injuries that impact their lives. Head injuries are especially common on vessels and it is important to understand that injured seamen have rights. If you have suffered a head injury while working offshore, you need to be aware of the symptoms, treatment and compensation available for this type of injury.

There are various types of head injury, which is defined as any trauma that results in injury to the scalp, skull or brain. Maritime workers are especially prone to closed head injuries, also known as concussions, caused by a hard blow to the head from hitting an object. A fall accident or assault onboard a vessel can lead to a closed head injury.

Depending on the severity of the head injury, it can cause irreversible brain damage. Even if the skull is not penetrated or fractured, the brain can still become bruised. When the head is struck by an object it can result in bleeding inside the brain or may damage the brain directly. Serious head injuries may lead to any of the following:

  • Personality changes
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Loss of sensation, hearing, vision, taste or smell
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

The symptoms of a closed head injury can surface immediately, but can also develop slowing, sometimes taking several hours to surface. Some of the signs of a serious head injury include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Convulsions
  • Fluid drainage from the nose, mouth or ears
  • Severe headache
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Pupil changes
  • Inability to see, hear, taste or smell
  • Drowsiness

When there is bleeding inside the skull from a closed head injury, the doctor will need to find the location of the bleeding, severity of symptoms, other injuries and the progression of the symptoms, in order to determine the appropriate treatment. Surgery is often needed in closed head injury cases. Other treatment options include pressure monitors, medication to prevent seizures and antibiotics to prevent infection.

There are laws that protect injured seamen, harbor workers and longshoremen. If you have sustained a closed head injury and believe your employer or vessel owner was negligent, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries. Compensation may include damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, disfigurement and mental anguish. Contact a maritime attorney at our law firm today for a free legal consultation.