Maritime workers are vulnerable to a wide variety of injuries on many types of vessels.
These workers are not protected under the laws that apply to land-based employees. Instead, they can recover damages for injuries under the Jones Act.
Commercial and cruise ship injuries
Bad weather is always a possibility when a ship puts to sea and it can cause injuries aboard cruise ships and other vessels from sprains and strains to head trauma to broken limbs. Capsizing can also occur. It is not uncommon for seamen, even those with considerable experience, to fall overboard from the deck of a slippery commercial fishing vessel. Tugboats, which guide large vessels in and out of harbors, face unsafe conditions when the hulls of the ships block their visibility. Explosions are the main cause of severe burn injuries aboard cargo tankers, due to the highly flammable nature of the materials these ships transport.
Offshore oil rig injuries
Although explosions are also a concern on offshore oil rigs, issues with heavy machinery are often responsible for serious injuries. For example, crane operators are at risk of injuries or death due to faulty winches or wires.
Other unsafe conditions
Vessel owners, including companies that operate oil rigs, are responsible for ensuring safe working conditions. There are many issues for which owners can face liability, including:
– Violation of United States Coast Guard regulations
– Insufficient training
– Missing or broken safety equipment
– Lack of crew members needed to perform a job safely
Remember that maritime workers have protections under laws that are different from those governing land-based employees. Whether an injured seaman is working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, on the inland waterway or in a harbor, he or she may qualify for financial compensation under the Jones Act.