Attorneys for the maritime worker
since 1970

Injuries on seafaring vessels can be devastating

A seafaring vessel has many different hazards that can have a negative impact on the men and women who work on them. It is crucial for anyone who is on a ship, boat or barge, regardless of the type, to understand the hazards and how to fight back against them.

When there are injures on a seafaring vessel, there is a chance that the victim might end up with a devastating outcome.

Basic first aid is usually the limit

When there are injuries at sea, you have to hope that they will be very minor and common injuries. Things like small cuts or bruises are manageable on these vessels. More serious injuries, such as broken bones or deep cuts, usually aren’t manageable unless you are on a vessel with a medical ward.

Most fishing vessels won’t have medical personnel, while cruise ships will likely have a medical team. The difference in the outcomes between these two vessels for the exact same injury is remarkable.

When a seafaring vessel doesn’t have a medical team and equipment, they will usually have to defer all injuries to the United States Coast Guard. This means that they have to wait for help to arrive and then the victim has to be transported to another location for care. In an emergency, such as a head injury with profuse bleeding or a spinal cord injury, the wait and need to move the person using airlifts or ships can complicate the situation.

Outcomes of injuries at sea

The outcome of an injury at sea is affected by the circumstances, the time it takes to get suitable care and the treatment available on the vessel. For some men and women who suffer catastrophic injuries on a ship or boat, the outcome isn’t very optimistic.

This isn’t to say that they will die due to the injuries. It does mean that they might face a lifetime of pain and limitations due to the injury. In some cases, returning to work isn’t possible.

Whether the seaman can return doesn’t have any impact on the need for the employer or insurer to cover medical care. In fact, seaman have the same rights as other workers when it comes to workers’ compensation. However, they have the added protections of other laws, such as the Jones Act to ensure that they are properly cared for after an accident at sea.