The maritime industry employs over 1.3 billion people across Texas. Maritime jobs provide high-paying salaries but expose the workers to strenuous physical labor, long working hours, extreme weather conditions and marine hazards.
Considering these factors, various maritime laws protect the workers in case of an at-work injury. These laws help workers claim compensation from their employers in the event of an accident, injury or illness during their employment.
What Is a Maritime Injury?
Any psychological or physical trauma experienced by a worker at sea can be considered a maritime injury. Maritime injury victims may include any offshore workers, crew members of fishing vessels and cruise ship passengers that are lost or injured in the US or its adjoining navigable waters.
Types of Maritime Injuries
The sea is full of unprecedented situations and conditions that you can’t avoid. While most maritime workers are well-prepared to endure and face any obstacle that comes their way, some hazards and accidents may still affect them. Most maritime injuries are severe and cause the victims to remain absent from work for an extended time. These injuries may result in costly long-term medical care that affects the overall financial position of the victims.
Whether you work on cargo ships, ports or decks, you may encounter various accidents that lead to maritime injuries. Some of the common types of accidents include:
- Carrying and lifting mishaps, including crane accidents, moving objects and falling overboard.
- Slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents, especially in wet conditions.
- Bumps and collisions during storm-like conditions can hurt the crew members if unsecured cargo, carts, cranes and dollies bash into the workers.
- Illness caused by improper food preparation and unsanitary conditions is common among workers.
- Explosions and fires can start due to the mishandling of explosive chemicals and other equipment.
- Other common accidents include boating casualties, mishaps due to inadequate training, mooring operations and electrocutions.
Some accidents or mishaps can cause serious damage and alter the life of the victim forever. It occurs when the severity of the injury is significant or when the injured person does not receive adequate medical treatment on time, which worsens the problem. These injuries are known as catastrophic injuries, which may permanently impact a person’s life. Some of these life-altering injuries may cause permanent physical damage due to which the victim may not be able to work in the future and earn a living. These injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or full paralysis
- Burn injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Crush injuries
Whenever a worker is injured because of an accident they didn’t cause, they are entitled to fair compensation to make their life as comfortable as possible.
Burn injuries are one of the most catastrophic maritime accidents that can cause severe harm to the worker. If you ever suffer a burn injury from a maritime accident, contact the law experts at Morgan Legal Group to get the legal assistance you deserve.
Most burn injuries are due to fires in offshore environments. Some common causes of offshore burn injuries include engine room fires, contact with hazardous chemicals, explosions, equipment malfunctions and electrical accidents. The severity of a burn injury can range from mild to life-altering burns depending on the nature of the accident. Burn injuries are classified as:
First Degree Burns
These burns only affect the outer layer of the skin known as the epidermis and are usually surface burns that don’t require immediate medical attention. The skin becomes red and irritated. These are painful but heal within a few days or weeks without requiring special treatment.
Second Degree Burns
These are more severe burns as they extend below the skin surface and affect the epidermis and dermis. The skin turns pink or red and becomes very painful. These burns cause blisters on the skin, which appear whitish and wet. Healing may take anywhere between a few weeks to months or longer. Skin grafting may be necessary in some cases.
Third Degree Burns
A third-degree burn significantly damages all layers of the skin and also affects the tissue below the skin. This layer contains sweat glands, blood capillaries, hair follicles and nerve endings, which can be damaged by the burn. The burnt areas appear dark and stiff. The burns are too severe and require immediate medical treatment.
Fourth Degree Burns
These are the most severe burns that affect all skin layers and tissue under the skin and extend into the muscle. These burns require specialized medical attention and take much longer to heal. This injury is too severe to feel any immediate pain.
You may not be able to differentiate between the type of burn or injury you suffer, so it’s best to seek immediate medical treatment and let the doctor evaluate the severity of the burn. All burns can potentially expose you to the risk of infections, shock and nerve damage. So, as a victim of a maritime burn injury, you deserve suitable medical treatment and fair compensation.
Do’s and Don’ts While Filing Your Maritime Claim
If you ever get injured at sea, it’s essential to maintain a grip on the facts to set a straight record regarding what caused the injury and how it happened. Let your maritime burn injury lawyer handle the negotiations and compensation amounts.
Here’s what you should do after a maritime injury:
- Fill out a maritime accident report: You should fill out an accident report stating when and how you got injured. While filling out the report you are in control, and you can take your time to go through the questions carefully and answer accordingly.
- Collect your witnesses: To make your case stronger, you should note the names of any crew members or coworkers who witnessed the accident or noticed a hazard that may have led to your injury. This way, your attorney can get their statements and help you get fair compensation.
- Be careful about what you speak: After getting injured, some members of the management or other higher authorities may contact you to know about the incident. Be cautious about what you say, as these words can be used to manipulate the claim. You should always protect your interest and speak after consulting your maritime injury lawyer.
- Seek legal representation: Select an experienced legal representative to handle your case. Attorneys at Morgan Legal Group empower you at every step and put their best foot forward to get you fair compensation.
Here’s what you should not do to avoid any manipulations or complications in your case:
- Never submit a recorded statement: The management may convince you to submit a recorded statement, but you cannot be forced to record a statement at any point in time.
- Don’t sign any documents: You should never sign any documents or approve any settlement without consulting your maritime attorneys. Always contact your lawyer before signing any documents, as these can be used for manipulating the compensation amount.
- Don’t speak unnecessarily: Anything you tell the insurance adjusters or company representatives can be used against you. Always talk to the opposition party with your attorney.
Know Your Rights
It’s crucial to ensure that all your needs are met, whether medical, legal, financial or emotional. You should be aware of your rights and not compromise due to a lack of knowledge. Learn about some of your rights:
Right To Get Medical Treatment
The Jones Act protects the provision of medical benefits for victims of maritime injuries. This stands true regardless of who is at fault for the injury or accident, so you don’t have to worry about being compensated for your recovery. Even if the accident aggravates a pre-existing condition, your employer is obligated to provide adequate coverage for your treatment. You are entitled to financial maintenance payments and medical benefits irrespective of whether you sign on documents brought by the insurance adjuster.
Legal Right To Select a Doctor
You have the legal right to choose a doctor yourself. Don’t feel obligated to select the doctor or physician your insurance company or employer suggests to you. You can decide which doctor you want for your treatment. The employer cannot force you to go to the doctor of their choice.
Not Required To Give a Recorded Statement
Though you should report the accident as soon as possible, no one can compel you to give any recorded statement about the injury or accident. Many victims can be pressurized to submit a recorded statement, but you should know, you can say no to recording a statement. Always consult your lawyers and tell them if you are forced to submit a recorded statement.
Get the Best Maritime Burn Injury Lawyer in Houston
If you are a victim of a maritime burn injury and experience physical and emotional trauma from the accident, you must consult a qualified burn injury lawyer at Morgan Legal Group to explore your legal options. We take pride in helping our Texas clients get the desired compensation and support. You don’t have to pay any fee unless we win your case. You must seek the best legal advice to get reasonable compensation and medical treatment. Most employers and insurance adjusters try to dispose of burn injury cases as cheaply as possible, but we ensure that every victim is fairly paid for the damages and receives suitable treatment.
Our experienced maritime burn injury lawyers strongly build your unique case to achieve the required financial results while you focus on your recovery. Get in touch with us today for expert legal assistance.