Accidents can happen anywhere you go, be it land or sea. But at least on land, if you suffer an injury, help is available much more readily. It’s a lot easier for victims to obtain medical assistance or even assistance from nearby persons when an accident happens on dry land as opposed to at sea because persons on a vessel are isolated. Telephone and other communication services may not be working, which means emergency crews may not be reached until hours later. Even if they are reached quickly, a vessel may be out at sea in the middle of nowhere, and it can take several hours for an emergency team to reach the victim. Furthermore, not every vessel is equipped with onboard medical facilities. On land, victims who are injured can be transported to a number of hospitals or clinics, but that’s not the case at sea.
And on top of the fact that obtaining medical treatment and help for an offshore injury is much more difficult than for those who suffer an accident on land, the types of injuries victims can suffer vary greatly as well. So what are these kinds of injuries and what types of accidents can cause them? Let’s take a look.
Depending on the type of vessel and whether you are a crew member or passenger can play a role in the types of offshore injuries that can be suffered, but regardless of the nature of the injury and the extent of the damage, an offshore injury lawyer can assist if the injuries resulted from some form of negligent action – which the vast majority of accidents at sea generally result from.
Some injuries result from general mechanical issues on a vessel, which can cause a ship or boat to lose power. Areas may not be illuminated properly, leading victims to stumble and fall. For crew members, injuries involving faulty equipment can occur while they are attempting to fix the problem. Perhaps a piece of machinery is loose, and while trying to fix it, the equipment falls on the victim, causing injuries.
Other injuries result from a crew member or pilot’s negligence as far as navigation goes, such as a captain’s failure to recognize hazardous areas at sea, leading a vessel to crash into a rock, or due to a powerboat captain’s choice to speed or to operate their vessel while under the influence, resulting in a collision with another vessel or inanimate object.
Though serious accidents at sea can occur on any kind of vessel, maritime crew members generally tend to suffer a wider range of injuries due to the nature of their jobs, as opposed to passengers or those on a pleasure craft . Working on board a maritime vessel means crew members are constantly around equipment and can suffer severe workplace injuries while moving heavy objects, transporting materials, or because of another crew member’s inexperience.
The actual types of injuries that can be suffered vary from minor to catastrophic. Some victims can suffer anything from mild bumps and bruises to lacerations and broken bones. If a crew member suffers a fall or an injury due to a piece of machinery coming loose and falling on the victim, more serious – if not fatal – injuries can occur, including paralysis and limb loss.
Then there are the extremely catastrophic types of offshore injuries, including those stemming from an explosion or fire on board. These kinds of accidents can lead to severe burns, eye injuries, and nerve damage. Ships that crash into objects at sea or other vessels can also capsize, and if evacuation procedures are not carried out properly, victims may suffer a fatal drowning accident.
As far as what types of vessels are more prone to accidents on board, generally you’ll see cargo vessels or oil rigs report a greater rate of offshore injuries. But any kind of vessel can be the site of a serious accident. An offshore injury lawyer can assist the victims of any kind of accident at sea that results from negligence, which is imperative that those who are hurt consult with a legal professional as soon as possible to determine their rights and case options.