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Legal Blog

Being Rescued at Sea After a Serious Injury

U.S. Coast Guard crews are stationed around the country to ensure that as soon as they receive a call, they can move out. The Coast Guard responds to all types of accidents and injuries that occur at sea. They search for and recover people from capsized and sinking vessels, and those who have been reported overboard. They also come to the assistance of workers who are injured onboard vessels who need medical attention as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one experienced a serious injury and were rescued at sea by the Coast Guard, contact a Houston maritime lawyer at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500. You talk with a lawyer about your legal right to compensation following a work-related maritime injury. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation of your case.

Common Causes of Serious Maritime Injuries

A lot can happen to seamen that would require evacuation. One of the most common hazards aboard a vessel is water. It can be difficult to keep walkways and surfaces dry, which significantly increases the risk of slip and falls or falls from heights. Some falls may be minor. A crewmember may recover quickly and continue on with their work. Other falls can also lead to serious injuries at sea, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and back injuries.

As recently as May 2019, the Coast Guard rescued a 28-year-old seaman who was injured in a fall on an oil tanker. The young worker suffered a neck injury, and the crew contacted the Coast Guard. Once the vessel was in 65 miles off the coast of San Francisco, the Coast Guard was able to recover the seaman and transport him to Stanford Medical Center via helicopter.

Shifting, falling, and moving objects are major concerns. Everything on a vessel needs to be secured. Otherwise, cargo shifts and falling supplies can lead to serious injuries. That being said, some parts of the vessel can and should move, including mooring lines. Workers may be caught by or tangled in moving objects on a vessel and injured.

Other common risks on large vessels include exposure to hazardous materials, fires and explosions, and electric shock, which can lead to burns and internal organ damage. In 2006, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 40 people from a research vessel off the coast of Louisiana after a fire broke out on the ship.

U.S. Coast Guard Responds to Life-Threatening Circumstances

Not all incidents on vessels result in U.S. Coast Guard rescues. The U.S. Coast Guard responds to life-threatening events, such as when a vessel is damaged and cannot continue its voyage, when a vessel is sinking, and when one or more people have been seen overboard. Anytime someone is in the water and the vessel cannot immediately recover the individual, there is a risk of severe exposure, hypothermia in some regions, and drowning.

The U.S. Coast Guard also responds to serious injuries that require medical attention the vessel cannot provide within an appropriate amount of time. These injuries include TBIs, neck and back injuries that may involve damage to the spinal cord, deep lacerations, uncontrollable bleeding, crush injuries, full or partial amputations, bone fractures, and burns.

Vessels that are located hours or days away from a port and have a worker suffer a serious injury can contact the Coast Guard to retrieve the injured worker and transport them to the nearest medical facility.

Your Options After Being Seriously Injured at Sea

If you suffered a serious injury and required the Coast Guard to be rescued at sea, you should talk with a Houston maritime attorney as soon as possible – and before giving any statement to an insurer. As a maritime worker, you have a right to benefits after a work-related accident. The law that applies to your injuries and the compensation you are entitled to vary depending on the circumstances. You may be entitled to maintenance and cure, which includes compensation for your medical care and daily expenses, vocational rehabilitation, and disability benefits.

To ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to after suffering a serious injury and being rescued at sea, contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500, or through the online form.