Serious Injuries Caused by Working on a Vessel

Working on a vessel is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lives are risked every day on the job and serious injuries commonly occur. Old and worn out stairs, missing gangways, wet or oily surfaces, dangerous transfers, poor lighting, defective equipment, falls and collisions with other vessels can all result in serious injuries. Seamen are often victims of back injuries, neck injuries and spinal cord injuries. These injuries are painful and can cause permanent disabilities, prohibiting the injured seaman from returning to work in the same capacity.

Back, Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries

Back injuries, spinal cord injuries and neck injuries can range in symptoms and severity. A serious back or neck injury can leave a maritime worker with chronic pain and limited mobility. Back injuries can include lumbar or lower back sprain or strain. This type of injury can be difficult to diagnosis, especially if there is an underlying disc injury that has not been identified. A back or neck injury can include sciatica, a bulging or herniated disc or fractured vertebrae.

A spinal cord injury caused by working on a vessel can be life altering. It is common for a spinal cord injury to result in permanent disability, paralysis, quadriplegia or paraplegia. The symptoms of a seaman’s spinal cord injury can range depending on where the injury is located on the spine and the severity. Victims of spinal cord injuries frequently experience pain in the spinal cord, loss of movement, loss of sensation, difficulty breathing and trouble walking. Spinal cord injuries must be treated immediately to help the victim achieve the best possible recovery.

Injury Treatment

Medical treatment for back and neck injuries can include bed rest, pain medication, cold therapy, heat therapy and immobilization. Depending on the injury, physical therapy may be recommended. A seaman who received a back injury or neck injury while onboard, may take a while to fully recover. Recovery time can last a few days to several weeks. In some instances, a back injury can cause chronic back pain for years to come.

Spinal cord injuries require more extensive treatment and damage to the spine can never be fully reversed. A maritime worker with a spinal cord injury will need immediate medical treatment and ongoing care. Immediate medical treatment may include pain medication, immobilization of the spine and possibly surgery. Ongoing care will be needed to prevent further problems such as bed sores, blood clots, muscle contractures and de-conditioning. Rehabilitation is usually recommended and a patient may be prescribed medicine for the pain and to control muscle spasms.

Legal Representation for Injured Seamen

A maritime worker with a back injury, neck injury or spinal cord injury may be entitled to compensation. An injured seaman can recover damages for:

  • Lost wages, both past and present
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish

If you or a loved one have suffered a back injury, neck injury or spinal cord injury while working on a vessel contact our law firm immediately. Discuss your case with a maritime attorney for free and learn what legal options are available to you and your family.