June 29, 2023

Maritime Accidents: A Comprehensive Guide by a St. Mary Parish Maritime Attorney


Maritime accidents are a significant concern. As a St. Mary Parish Maritime Attorney, I frequently face questions about these mishaps. This guide aims to shed light on the most common maritime accidents, their causes, and how a maritime attorney can help you navigate through the legal aftermath.

Common Maritime Accidents

Working in the maritime industry is both rewarding and risky. The most frequent maritime accidents that result in injury or even death are those that happen during routine activities onboard the vessel. Here are some of the most common accidents:

  1. Slips and Falls: Wet or slippery floors can lead to slips, falls, and significant injuries.
  2. Falls from Height: Working at elevated heights increases the risk of severe fall injuries.
  3. Falling Overboard: A common and often fatal accident at sea.
  4. Repetitive Motion Injuries: Caused by doing the same action repeatedly.
  5. Overexertion Injuries and Strains: Often a result of heavy lifting or strenuous work.
  6. Injuries from Dangerous Tasks: These can occur due to inadequate safety gear or lack of proper training.

The Dangers of Maritime Jobs

Maritime jobs often involve inherent risks due to the nature of the tasks involved. These include:

  • Chemical Handling: Handling hazardous chemicals can lead to burns or toxic exposure.
  • Cargo Loading/Unloading: Heavy machinery used in loading or unloading cargo can cause severe injuries.
  • Welding and Repair Work: These tasks expose workers to various risks, including burns and eye injuries.
  • Engine Room Work: The engine room, with its machinery and high temperatures, is a high-risk area.

Compensation for Maritime Accidents

As a St. Mary Parish Maritime Attorney, I often get asked about compensation after maritime accidents. Depending on the circumstances, an injured maritime worker might be eligible to take legal action against their employer or the shipowner. Here are some possible avenues for seeking compensation:

  • The Jones Act
  • The Doctrine of Unseaworthiness
  • Maintenance and Cure

The Jones Act

Under the Jones Act, injured seamen can build a negligence case against their employer or any other party responsible for the accident. If you need assistance with this, a St. Mary Parish Jones Act Attorney can help you understand your rights and build a strong case.

The Doctrine of Unseaworthiness

If the ship was not adequately equipped or maintained for the tasks required, the injured seaman might be able to hold the shipowner liable under the doctrine of unseaworthiness.

Maintenance and Cure

Maintenance and Cure allow injured seamen to recover the cost of medical treatment and part of their lost wages from their employers.

Consult a Maritime Attorney Today

At Cueria Law Firm, LLC, we offer free assessments of your case to determine your options for seeking damages. You can recover maintenance and cure, lost wages, and other compensation for your maritime accident. If we represent you, there will be no upfront costs as we work on a contingency basis. Call us today for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.

Risks in the Maritime Industry

The maritime industry comes with inherent risks. Accidents lead to injuries, and sometimes fatalities. This includes workers in ports, aboard ships, on offshore platforms, or other maritime roles. The work is physically demanding, requires long hours, and carries the risk of accidents.

Equipment Accidents

Equipment accidents are common in the maritime industry. Large machinery like container cranes, trawling winches, and forklifts can cause serious harm if not used correctly, not well maintained, or if there’s miscommunication among workers.

Inadequate Training Accidents

Poor training can lead to mishaps, especially when workers are not adequately trained to use equipment or safety gear. The responsibility for training lies with the employer, and when neglected, accidents occur.

Commercial Fishing Accidents

Commercial fishing is the most dangerous maritime job. Long hours, small vessels, rough waters, and bad weather conditions make accidents like falls overboard, equipment mishaps, exposure to elements, and fatigue-induced errors all too common.

Onshore Accidents

Port and dock workers also face risks. Equipment accidents, especially those involving cranes and forklifts, are common. Falls into the water, chemical exposure, fires, and other accidents are not uncommon onshore.

Falls Overboard

Falling overboard is a common accident for maritime workers and often leads to fatalities. Workers may drown or suffer severe hypothermia. In port areas or docks, workers risk being crushed between boats or between a boat and a dock.

Head, Neck, and Back Injuries

Injuries to the head, neck, and back are common when accidents occur. Even small bumps on the head can result in severe injuries, leading to chronic pain or paralysis.

Lost Limbs

Maritime workers risk losing a limb on the job or requiring an amputation due to an accident. This can be seriously traumatizing and may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Chemical Exposure

Maritime workers often work with cargo that might be a toxic chemical. Accidents can lead to workers being exposed to chemicals causing burns or respiratory illness.

Fire and Electrical Accidents

Electrical accidents and fires are possible on ships and in port areas. When electrical systems are not updated or maintained, shocks and more severe accidents can occur.

Repetitive Use Injuries

Jobs that involve repetitive movement can lead to repetitive use injuries, causing damage, inflammation, and pain in joints, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Moving parts and people, equipment and cargo make slipping, tripping, and falling common in maritime work.

Shoulder Injuries

Various kinds of maritime accidents can lead to shoulder injuries. Common shoulder injuries include joint dislocation, fractures and broken bones, and even arthritis caused by years of overuse of the shoulder joint.

Minor Injuries

Minor injuries like broken and sprained bones, tendonitis, scrapes, and cuts can accumulate over time and cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

Maritime Accidents Involving Negligence

Negligence often plays a part in maritime accidents. This includes failure to maintain and repair equipment, not having good communication policies in place, requiring workers to work for long hours without breaks, not keeping decks and docks clear of trip hazards, and making poor decisions about going out in dangerous waters.

What to Do if You Have Been Injured

If you have suffered an injury on the job, you could face significant medical bills, lost wages, lost future earnings if your injuries are lasting, and even emotional and psychological trauma. Several maritime laws ensure you get the compensation you deserve. A maritime lawyer can help you use evidence from your medical records and accident report to get the compensation you need after an accident.

As a St. Mary Parish Maritime Attorney, I am here to help you navigate through the legal aftermath of such accidents. Don’t hesitate to reach out for advice and assistance.


Request a Free Case Review

Related Articles