Maritime Injury?

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Slip and Fall Injuries and the Maritime Laws

While one person might say that falling and slipping while working offshore is given because of the movement of water and the slippery conditions, others disagree. In fact, many government and maritime industry guidelines are in place in order to address the issue of slip and fall or trip and fall injuries.

There is no doubt that it is easier to fall or slip while on board a ship or other watercraft, and it is also very easy to slip or trip when working alongside the waters such as doing dock work, but this does not mean that steps cannot be taken to erase most of the underlying causes for such falls, and the serious injuries they can cause.

Should any maritime worker sustain a slip and fall or trip and fall injury, and it is due to the negligence of a vessel owner or maritime employer, the injured party is protected under maritime laws. It helps to understand what these injuries are and what the responsibilities of the employers or vessel owners (or other third parties) might be.

What Is a Slip and Fall or a Trip and Fall Maritime Accident?

If you ask the safety experts of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) about maritime accidents, one of the first facts you will hear is that more than 40% of the injuries reported to them from the maritime industry are due to a slip and fall incident (OSHA, 2014).

Why do so many people working in this field fall and get hurt? There are so many conditions that make it easy to do so:

  • Surfaces not treated with anti-skid material
  • Poorly marked areas where hazardous conditions may prevail
  • No railings or nets to prevent falls
  • Extreme movement of the vessel due to poor navigation
  • Employees without appropriate amounts of training on safety and procedures
  • No regular inspections for safety standards
  • Poor lighting
  • Loose lines or poorly stowed cargo
  • Equipment and machinery that is improperly used or inadequately stowed

These are but a few of the reasons that an employee or passenger may trip, slip and fall. The injuries they sustain can range from a few bumps and bruises to loss of life. Clearly, it is in the best interests of everyone involved to adhere to the most rigorous safety standards, but the scores of documented injuries on file with OSHA each year attest to the simple fact that a lot of employers and vessel owners are negligent in this respect.

After a Slip and Fall Injury

What sort of protections are in place for those who sustain injuries after a slip or trip and fall? Interestingly enough, if there is evidence of negligence there are maritime laws and acts that entitle the injured workers to a long list of compensations.

Naturally, the key is to be able to prove that a vessel owner or employer (or other party) is indeed negligent and to blame for whatever injuries or outcomes occurred. After all, if someone has fallen overboard due to negligence on the part of an employer, and has subsequently perished, the maritime laws also entitle their surviving dependents to compensation, as well.

Whether you fell and broke a wrist or you ended up with paralysis and extreme suffering from a trip and fall accident, if the employer or owner was negligent and this led to your injury – you must seek legal recourse. A qualified maritime lawyer will be able to review the entire case with you and then take all of the necessary steps to pursue your rightful compensation.