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Heavy Lifting Injuries and Accidents

Offshore work is a dangerous business and crew members are often injured on ship accidents because their tasks involve lifting heavy equipment, cargo, products, and gear. Crew members who have been injured due to lifting accidents may be entitled to damages under the Jones Act and other maritime laws, even if the lifting accident aggravates a pre-existing condition such as degenerative disc disease.

If you’ve been injured, our Houston offshore injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C., can discuss your legal options.

Nearly all accidents that involve lifting heavy objects are preventable if the proper safety measures have been taken. Yet the rate of accidents continues to climb, especially among less ethical employers who put profit over people. The availability and condition of cranes, winches, and other equipment on a seagoing vessel can also be a factor in lifting accidents.

If a maritime employer is negligent by failing to ensure safety equipment is properly installed and utilized, appropriate work procedures are in place, or otherwise fails to provide safe working conditions, they may be held liable for any injuries that occur.

Lifting Injuries by Offshore Crew Members

The act of lifting heavy objects onboard seagoing vessels is made even more dangerous by the presence of bulky shipping containers, drilling equipment, fishing nets, and lots of other heavy, unstable and potentially dangerous objects.

Common injuries seen in maritime accident cases involving lifting accidents include:

  • Severe neck, back, and spinal cord injuries
  • Crushed or amputated extremities
  • Mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Damaged ligaments

Causes of Heavy Lifting Accidents on Seagoing Vessels

All crew members of seagoing vessels should be trained appropriately and be made aware of the common equipment related injuries and risks of heavy lifting, including:

  • The actual weight of the cargo or equipment being lifted. Many cargo items and equipment on offshore vessels are much heavier. Heavy loads such as these place a seafaring crew member at risk of serious injury.
  • Lifting objects in awkward positions. Lifting objects in unwieldy positions can cause serious strain on the back, shoulder, arms, or hands of crew members, especially when combined with the uncertain footing of working on a ship at sea or on a drilling rig.
  • Inadequate handholds. If a heavy object is challenging to grasp, a crew member is more likely to drop the object on their foot or otherwise cause self-harm or injury to another crewmate.
  • Environmental factors. High seas, fierce winds, poor weather conditions, and other factors can all make heavy lifting more dangerous. Extreme hot or cold conditions can also put crew members at risk for injury. In addition, poor lighting or other environmental conditions can have an impact on heavy lifting on ships, rigs, or other offshore vessels.
  • Negligent or distracted crewmates. If fellow crew members are poorly trained, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or simply distracted during a heavy lifting maneuver, their behavior may result in serious accidents for workers carrying heavy loads.

Frequency of Lifting Injuries

Lifting heavy objects is one of the leading causes of injury in the American workplace. The frequency of these types of injuries is made even more challenging by the wet and unstable working conditions experienced by offshore workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 36 percent of injuries involving missed workdays happen as a direct result of shoulder and back injuries, which are very common after lifting accidents. Overexertion and cumulative trauma to the back and neck are the biggest factors in these types of accidents. When seafaring workers use smart lifting practices, and use equipment appropriately, they are far less likely to suffer back sprains, pulled muscles, wrist injuries, elbow injuries, spinal compression, and other injuries frequently caused by lifting heavy objects.

Understanding Maritime Laws

The laws governing lifting-related injuries on boats, ships, or offshore rigs, or at port, can be challenging to interpret because they are so specific to maritime workplaces. It is crucial that workers who are injured in a lifting accident engage an attorney with proficiency in these types of federal maritime laws, regulations, or other rules. Among the regulations that cover maritime work are the Jones Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. It is also possible that some federal laws may apply to your maritime injury.

To get the compensation that you deserve for your lifting accident, it is important to employ a Texas maritime accident attorney who has comprehensive knowledge of both commercial maritime operations in the Gulf Coast and the rules and regulations that govern lifting accidents.

Legal Advocacy That Works for Lifting Accident Cases

Our team of attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has many years of experience helping our clients financially recover following maritime accidents. We have recovered significant damages for clients involved in maritime accidents that have left them or multiple workers injured.

When our Houston personal injury lawyers take your case, we immediately start investigating the circumstances of your lifting accident as well as the working conditions in which it occurred. We want to find out if negligence on the part of an employer, employee, or a third party may have contributed to your lifting accident. In addition, we insist on medical assessment to properly determine the extent and consequences of your injury, and to determine a fair and equitable amount of compensation to help you recover physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has extensive experience with maritime-based lifting accidents throughout the state of Texas. Call us today at 281-283-8500 or contact us online to start our investigation into the causes of your accident. We offer a free consultation and there are no fees unless you obtain compensation for your case.