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Indeed, working in the maritime industry has several perks, but some highly dangerous risk factors too. Accidents leading to injuries and fatalities are very common. Kettner Law takes immense pride in having the best International Maritime Industry Lawyers to handle the most complex cases and legal obstacles.
The very nature of ocean and waterway travel makes it particularly vulnerable to serious mishaps. Cruise vessels, container ships, fishing boats, and other admiralty vessels can be subject to a wide assortment of high sea and waterway incidents – to piracy, sickness, and accidents. Typically, injury claims that occur on or near a vessel in navigable waters are governed by maritime or admiralty law. Through special provisions and individualized laws, the maritime legal system addresses the obligations vessel owners have toward their crew, employees, and passengers, and ensures that these obligations are upheld. General maritime law principles, the Jones Act, the Death on High Seas Act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, were all enacted to uphold a standard of safety and seaworthiness. These laws and principles were also devised to hold the necessary parties accountable in the legal system should maritime vessel operators violate the duties owed to crew, passengers, and to other vessels.
Maritime injury law and admiralty is a complex issue governed by varied federal statutes of the state. The rights of people, and opportunities, to recover their monetary compensation under the Jones Act and similar maritime laws are much different and complex compared to other types of injuries.
Besides hundreds of cases involving barges, drilling rigs, tugboats, oil platforms, transport helicopters, and other vessels on American waterways, we have a dedicated team of lawyers handling several maritime litigation matters in international as well as foreign waters.
Federal laws have existed to make sure that necessary coverage is given to injured workers so that they can get back on their feet. There are laws to help the dependents and survivors of the injured workers, too. Although most of the maritime injuries and accidents are highly preventable, accident prevention may not be possible in every case. There are laws to help maritime accident victims receive the compensation they deserve.
One of the most common maritime accidents takes place in enclosed spaces. It leads to several casualties as well as extreme injuries. Such accidents commonly occur when the crew of a ship enters a confined or enclosed space that is not free from gases and has innumerable pockets of flammable and toxic gases. These accidents are considered cases of sheer negligence. To prevent these risks, officers responsible for the crew should be particularly careful when devising and applying confined space entry procedures.
Seafarers falling overboard is another common sea mishap – and it’s the most dangerous of all. Such accidents occur to crew members while on the job, or simply during the usual course of daily onboard activities.
There are several onboard electrical issues that might periodically . . . spark up. While most maritime workers likely follow adequate precautionary procedures, electric shock accidents are nonetheless very common on ships. In addition to occasional moments of seafarer carelessness, exposed wires, unattended electrical connections, and even minor electrical equipment errors can also cause unfortunate accidents.
Mooring operations are another common cause of serious maritime injuries that may even lead to onboard deaths. Mooring is considered a hazardous task requiring proper knowledge and skill, and must always be performed with extreme care, and with the understanding that many a seafarer has died as a result of mooring related accidents.
Major explosions and blasts can erupt when machinery and its related system are not properly maintained. Improper or sloppy maintenance can even destroy ship property and lead to crew member deaths. Of particular concern, for instance, are compressor and boiler blasts and crankcase explosions, which can cause severe injuries or, in most cases, death.
When on board, seafarers must often work at extreme heights, and during these times they must be certain to employ adequate safety measures, and to wear harnesses. Nonetheless, even after following the prescribed precautionary measures, crew members continue to suffer permanent damage or injuries or to lose their lives by falling from their elevated work areas. The frequent cause of these accidents is safety device failure, although sheer negligence can also be responsible for these unfortunate incidents, and for the related irreparable damage and death they cause seafarers.
Lifeboats are emergency vessels used to rescue people – to save lives. However, ironically enough, most maritime injuries are caused during lifeboat testing drills. Although these drills are vital, and are a routine part of sea travel, seafarers often suffer serious injuries, and sometimes even die, while performing these essential seagoing tests. New regulations have been enacted to ensure that utmost safety is maintained while handling lifeboats, but accidents resulting in serious injuries and death are still on the rise.
While sea bound piracy cannot be officially classified as an onboard ship accident, it is often an extremely life-threatening situation. No matter how cautious you are, pirates remain a common threat when you are in the ocean. They use a wide array of lethal weapons, such as RPG, along with guns, when attempting to hijack a vessel. Their aim is to loot the vessel, and they don’t hesitate to kill the vessel’s crew members in the process.
Commercial fishing is one of the most difficult jobs of all times. Danger is inherent in the long and grueling hours spent on small vessels, in rough waters, that commercial fishing requires. Add to this perilous setting the unpredictable arrival of bad, sometimes fierce weather, and mistakes – sometimes fatal errors –
(often involving heavy equipment and crew members falling overboard, etc. ) are a certainty.
There are offshore risks that crew members must deal with, and gangway failure is just one of them. Accidents frequently occur on ships when the gangway fails while it is in use. For instance, due to poor maintenance, the gangway wire rope often fails, which in turn can cause severe injuries to crew and visitors.
The federal government has established safety guidelines for maritime jobs and the related workplace. Unfortunately, maritime managers focus only on short-term jobs and deadline-oriented goals, overlooking the employee training component of maritime work. As a result, seamen and workers often suffer serious injuries in their workplace. Under the general maritime law and legislative acts, employers are legally obliged to train all maritime workers to provide a safe and sound working environment.
Because there are different areas of work and seamen are constantly moving, head injuries are quite common. Seafarers are vulnerable to head injuries from a variety of sources. They can be hit by something – for instance by a moving cargo load – or they can simply fall on a slippery deck or trip over a shipping container. Difficult to diagnose and treat, closed head injuries are particularly serious and dangerous, and thus require immediate medical intervention no matter how severe or superficial they may initially seem.
Seamen who suffer from a limb injury should be treated immediately, regardless of the injury’s severity. Lost limbs and/or amputation are a typical part of the maritime industry’s workforce.
Regardless of work area or function, maritime workers commonly suffer from shoulder injuries. Rocky waters in the middle of the sea harshly jerk around commercial fishermen or knock maritime workers into heavy equipment, thus causing shoulder injuries. Shoulder injuries are often difficult to handle and may lead to fractures, collar bone damage, shoulder dislocation, sprains, and bursitis.
Although not typically the cause of injury, otherwise preventable injuries are often caused by negligence.
Third sentence: “However, unforeseen incidents such as bad weather cannot be prevented.” Fourth: “But even in the face of bad weather it is possible to stay prepared.”
The maritime industry in the United States is one of the most important cornerstones of the economy. It provides over thousands of job opportunities in different types of vessels and in several shores as well as offshore facilities. However, all types of maritime jobs are dangerous due to innate hazards related to the maritime environment and negligent employer behavior, which places workers and seamen at an increased risk of fatal injuries and accidents. Even though some injuries are considered a part of the profession, employer negligence remains one a crucial factor in most maritime accidents. In such cases, maritime workers can exercise their legal rights and file for damages against the employer.
General maritime law and Jones Act prevail to help maritime workers in the event of an injury or accident. In fact, the Jones Act has been designed to protect those workers who have suffered serious injury due to sheer negligence on behalf of the employer.