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Legal Blog

Maritime Crush Injuries

Maritime Employees at Work

Crush injuries are a tragic yet relatively common aspect of the maritime profession. Sailors, longshoremen, and rig workers share the workplace with some of the heaviest machinery on earth. Inevitably, accidents happen, and the consequences can be devastating. Those lucky enough to survive a crush injury often face lifelong medical complications that can put them out of the workforce permanently. But, with the legal advocacy and counsel of an experienced Houston maritime accident lawyer, it’s possible for you and your family to get the financial security you deserve.

Our legal team at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has years of experience advocating for those who have been injured due to no fault of their own. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced attorney, call us right away at (281) 283-8500.

What Is a Crush Injury?

A crush injury is caused by the application of a strong, compressing force to all or part of the body. The crushing force often causes organs to rupture, bones to fracture, and blood vessels to burst. The longer the body is crushed, the more severe the damage to soft tissue will be. Thus, early treatment is essential to avoid the most severe consequences of a crush injury.

When muscles are compressed for a long time, the destruction of muscle tissue and the interruption of blood flow cause the buildup of toxins. When a person is crushed for a long time and then freed without proper precautions, the toxins are suddenly released into the body. This can have fatal results. For this reason, maritime crush injuries require the early intervention of a trained medical professional.

When Do Crush Injuries Happen at Sea?

A crush injury is a risk factor in any situation where humans are surrounded by heavy objects or machinery. Thus, all maritime professionals face the risk of crush injuries on a daily basis. Sometimes, however, crush injuries can have unexpected causes, such as from defective equipment.

For example, a dozen employees of the Royal Caribbean cruise line sustained crush injuries to their hands between 2004 and 2007 that were caused by automatic sliding watertight doors installed in their ships. The doors were meant to save lives in the event of a hull breach, but they proved to be a hazard of their own. In some cases, people got injured by the doors during a fire and other emergency drills. One of the injured employees whose hand was crushed by a door won a 20.3 million dollar jury award from the cruise line.

Crush injuries have happened on oil platforms too. In 2003, a worker on the West Alpha drilling rig was crushed by a hydraulic door that trapped him with thousands of pounds of force. According to regulations, such entries should require 20 to 40 seconds to close. But in this case, the door shut in only four seconds and had tragic results. A similar incident occurred on the Deepwater Nautilus in 2001. In addition to the door closing too fast, investigators found that the door’s warning lights were non-functional.

How a Houston Maritime Lawyer Can Help

Crush injury victims often suffer from severe medical conditions, permanent disability, or even death. In such situations, the assistance of a Houston maritime lawyer can help ensure that you and your family get adequate compensation for your injuries.

The Krist Law Firm, P.C. understands this is a complex and difficult time for you and your family, and we can help you face this challenge. If you or a family member has been injured at sea, call us today at (281) 283-8500 for a free, initial case consultation.