Washington maritime accident lawyer Zach Herschensohn, the founder of Herschensohn Law PLLC, has extensive experience representing workers injured at sea. Over the years, the firm has represented workers who suffered from a variety of injuries caused by their accidents. In our experience, maritime jobs are dangerous not because of the nature of the specific job, but because employers are sometimes negligent or reckless.
Injured maritime workers or their family members may incur millions or thousands of dollars in damages after a workplace accident at sea. Medical bills, lost income and other damages will disrupt the lives of even the strongest individuals and families.
What Are Common Maritime Accidents?
Workplace accidents at sea vary depending on the job, workplace environment and other factors. However, there are common maritime accidents that include:
- Slip and falls. As you probably guessed, slip and falls made our list. Surfaces on ships and other vessels are often wet. Workers who do not have the proper training or equipment are at an increased risk of falling and suffering injuries. The same is true if vessels lack proper lighting, fall protection or if they contain other hazards.
- Falling overboard. This type of workplace accident can very easily be fatal depending on when and where it happens. Maritime workers may fall overboard during severe weather or while loading cargo. Rescue workers do not always find maritime workers who fall overboard. Even if rescue workers are successful, the frigid conditions in the Northern Pacific may cause hypothermia.
- Fires and electrocutions. Boats have flammable materials and substances that pose a fire risk to maritime workers. Electrical components, especially when exposed to water, pose a major electrocution hazard to nearby workers. Although electrical accidents can be fatal, severe burn injuries are also possible. If a person enters cardiac arrest for a prolonged period, brain damage is another possible outcome.
- Accidents from lifting objects. Lifting heavy objects for a prolonged period of time can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. These injuries, which affect the muscles, nerves and ligaments, may keep workers from being able to perform their job duties.
- Crush hazard accidents. Moving parts and other large objects can lead to caught in/between accidents. Doctors may need to amputate limbs to treat severe crush injuries.
This is not an exhaustive list of the types of accidents that pose a risk to maritime workers. Unfortunately, there are many hazards at sea, so it is very important that employers and other parties responsible for the safety of maritime workers take their jobs as seriously as possible.
What Types of Damages Do Maritime Workers Suffer?
It depends on the accident and other factors. However, maritime injury and wrongful death cases share many similarities. All injured workers incur medical bills. Additional types of damages include:
- Loss of income and future earnings. Injured workers, even those with less serious injuries, cannot always return to work after an accident. Maritime workers with catastrophic injuries may never be able to return to their former occupations. Injuries may also affect a maritime worker’s ability to pursue future career options and more income. Family members of deceased maritime workers also suffer income-related damages.
- Medical expenses (overall). There are many different types of medical expenses in addition to hospital and doctor’s office bills. Injured workers could require medical equipment or home medical services. Some may need rehabilitation, which is never cheap. Certain types of injuries, such as a complete spinal cord injury that results in tetraplegia, will saddle an injured maritime worker with costly medical expenses for life.
- Pain and suffering. Noneconomic damages are common in accident cases involving catastrophic injuries (such as a spinal cord injury) or death. The burden of living with a permanent disability significantly reduces a person’s quality of life. Family members suffer immensely after losing a loved one to a maritime accident.
- Funeral expenses. Fatal workplace accidents impose extensive economic and noneconomic damages on the families of deceased maritime workers. Families may have to pay funeral expenses.
Can I Recover Compensation for a Maritime Accident in Washington?
There are a couple of options for injured maritime workers and family members to recover compensation. We have information about these options on our website. However, for more detailed information, we encourage you to speak with our Washington maritime accident lawyer during a free consultation.
Maritime accident lawyer Zach Herschensohn can review your situation and determine whether you have options to cover your damages. For more information about Zach’s successful verdicts and settlements for maritime workers, you can review our verdicts and settlements page.