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Ship crew members, captains, and other workers aboard ships face many occupational hazards while at sea. Because of the inherently dangerous nature of this type of work, many injured seamen and ship workers find themselves in need of financial assistance while out of work with a serious injury. When one of these workers suffers an on-board injury, there are a few possible routes to financial compensation.
Unlike injuries in most other industries, ship workers often have the option to hold their employers and ship owners liable for negligence. If a seaman suffers a work injury because of the negligence of a co-worker, employer, or ship owner, he or she may hold the negligent party liable for damages under the Jones Act. In order to file a claim, you must prove that someone else’s negligence contributed to your injury in some way – the burden of proof is lower than in personal injury claims.
Any maritime worker who spends at least 30% of their work hours aboard a water vessel in navigation legally qualifies as a “seaman” under the Jones Act. A vessel is considered in navigation if it meets the following four requirements:
Ship workers are regularly exposed to a wide range of occupational risks which could cause an accident and serious injuries. These workers frequently must deal with inclement weather, slippery conditions on deck, and sometimes defective or poorly maintained machinery.
Some common hazards which affect ship workers include:
Slip, trip, and fall dangers
Fires and explosions
Toxic and chemical exposure
Mistakes by the captain leading to accidents
The majority of ship crew work injuries could be prevented if everyone on board is properly trained in safety procedures.
Common Examples Of Offshore Employer Negligence
When a ship worker suffers a serious injury, the consequences can be devastating. Serious injuries often require extensive medical treatment, time away from work, and other struggles outside of work. While at sea, injured crew members may also have to wait long periods of time before they get the care they need.
Because these injuries are so serious, it’s important for injured workers to hold their employers or shipowners accountable when the injury could have been prevented in a safer work environment. Some common ways employers act negligently and fail to keep their vessels safe include:
Defective or poorly maintained equipment
Insufficient safety equipment
Insufficient food supplies
Lack of properly trained staff members
Unsafe living conditions
Poorly stowed cargo
Injured ship crew members who spend at least 30% of their work hours on a Jones Act vessel should speak with a maritime work injury lawyer about their options for financial compensation as soon as possible. This is often the only recourse injured workers have for getting the financial support they need after a serious offshore work injury.
Legal Counsel For Jones Act Injury Claims
Though all eligible Jones Act seamen have the right to file a claim after an offshore injury, that doesn’t mean filing a successful claim is easy. You’ll need to provide ample evidence which supports your claim that a dangerous condition existed on the ship at the time of your accident. If you’d like to learn more about your legal options, we can help answer your questions in a free and confidential consultation.