Working in a cruise ship can be a rewarding experience. You get to visit different parts of the world, and meet new people while getting paid. Regardless, of the positive aspects to it, working on a cruise ship, or any aquatic vessel can bring along with it all of its dangers. If the ship sinks, catches fire, explodes, has a mechanical malfunction, gets fired at, and many other dangers, the worker is a risk for any injuries that can come from those encounters.
Thankfully, there are laws that offer workers who got injured while on the job a set of rights.
Causes of Accidents On Cruise Ships
The cause of an accident is not derived from just one factor. In fact, a crew member getting hurt while working on an aquatic vessel can be attributed to a few things. Some of those causes are:
- Having to lift, push, or pull very heavy objects repeatedly
- Having dangerous working conditions
- A lack of required equipment to be able to work with
- A lack of crew members to perform the job (they make one member do the work of five)
- Slipping, tripping, or falling because of either no warning signs, a bunched-up carpet on step, uneven dimensions, equipment failure, and many others
- Inadequate conditions on the cruise ship
While these are just some reasons why a crew member can get harmed, the list goes on. The notion that many things could go wrong, leaves me baffled.
Most Recurring Injuries by Crew Members
Crew members can undergo many injuries, and even some that can lead to a disability or death. The most frequent ones are injuries to the back, to the knees, to the elbows, arms, hands, foot, head, eyes, ears, internal organs, fractured bones/broken bones, burns, and chemical injuries.
Recovery from one of these injuries can be lengthy, but as a worker, you are entitled to a legal right in receiving maintenance and medical assistance depending on whether you were qualified as a seaman at the moment of the accident. The maintenance is your living allowance and medical assistance is any fees associated to your harms, like future loss of wages, medical bills, therapy bills, etc. You can be repaid for all of your expenses and damages. That is your right and the duty of those responsible.
What Constitutes a ‘Seaman”?
Your right to maintenance and medical cure depends on your status of being a seaman or not. What defines that? If the crew member spends more than 30% of their time punched in as working on an aquatic vessel, then they are considered to be qualified as a seaman, under the Jones Act.
One of the positive aspect of the Jones Act, is the implication of strict liability in some cases. For example, if the injuries were a result of the employer’s neglect to abide by all of the regulations and federal statutes, then the worker can recover the full amount on their injuries even though the accident may have occurred because of the workers own fault, only by proving that their employer failed to comply by all the rules.
What Constitutes an Unseaworthy Claim?
Unseaworthy claims are claims that fall under the doctrine of unseaworthiness under the maritime law. These accusations are brought forth towards the ship’s owner. A crew member is able to seek compensation under an unseaworthiness claim if there was a dangerous condition, and that the condition is what led to the crew member’s injury. The owner of the ship is not required to have been aware of the condition in order for the crew member to file the claim for his or her injuries.
Some of these claims against a vessel may be due to mechanical failures, equipment that has malfunctioned, slip and fall accidents because of slippery surfaces that were unmarked with signs, safety equipment that is not of high quality, and a lack of training to the crew members of the safety rules and procedures while being on a vessel.
Case Studies of Crew Member Accidents
There have been many case studies involving accidents endured by crew members. These accidents can occur on cruise ships, ferries, yachts, and many other aquatic vessels. According to the Marine insight, here are some case studies:
- A man fell overboard while removing lashing rods from containers. He was never found and was presumed to have drowned.
- A crash between two vessels led to an explosion that took the lives of nine crew members, and injured others.
- A wire rope breaks claiming the life of one person and seriously injuring two other workers
- An oiler was injured because a floor plate was left open, he suffered severe lacerations to his hands
These are real life incidents that have occurred to crew members while working. Many catastrophes can occur to workers while working aboard a vessel. Employer’s need to ensure their employee’s safety because more than likely, they will have to pay for their damages.
Getting in Touch with a Miami Lawyer that Specializes in Crew Member Accidents
Have you endured an injury while working on a ship for an employer? Was your injury caused by a dangerous working condition? Did someone negligently allow this condition to continue? If so, promptly contact us. We are skilled with maritime laws, which are quite complex. We work for your recovery of lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and any other future expense. If you’ve been a victim, or have a significant other, family member, or friend who has been through this predicament. Have them contact a personal injury attorney at (305) 529-0001.
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