The engine room is the nerve center of the ship. When something goes wrong in the engine room, it can easily affect the rest of the ship. While there are many different causes of engine room accidents, almost all of them contain the element of human error. It you have been injured because of someone else’s mistake, you may have the right to damages beyond the standard maritime right to maintenance and cure. You will need the help of a maritime injury lawyer.
Types and Causes of Engine Room Accidents
Every job aboard a ship is dangerous. Working in the engine room is no exception. In many situations, the engine room can be the most dangerous place to work on a vessel. Types of engine room accidents include:
- Slips and falls
- Electrical issues
- Engine failure
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Heat stroke from lack of proper ventilation
- Mechanical malfunction
Even though working in an engine room is dangerous, that does not mean accidents should ever be expected or accepted. All engine room accidents are at least partially caused by human error. When the vessel owner tries to save money on maintenance and equipment breaks down or when impaired crewmembers make a critical mistake, someone has been negligent.
Some typical causes of engine room accidents include:
- Leaks and spills on engine room floor, causing someone to slip and fall
- Poor lighting making it difficult to walk around without injury
- Poorly maintained equipment and machinery
- Failure to inspect and maintain electrical equipment
- Defective equipment or components
- Failure to maintain chemical containment systems resulting in toxic leaks
- Impaired or poorly trained crewmembers operating equipment unsafely
Types of Injuries
Because of the nature of engine room work, many injuries are catastrophic and may even cause permanent disability, or even death. But, even injuries that do not require immediate medical attention can be serious. If you have been hurt in an engine room accident, you need to have a medical exam as soon as possible. You may have unknowingly been exposed to toxic materials. You could have serious internal injuries that have not manifested any symptoms yet. The sooner you are examined and treated by a doctor, the sooner you can begin the healing and recovery process.
Working while injured just puts you and your coworkers at greater risk for further accidents.
Some types of injuries workers sustain in engine room accidents include:
- Chemical burns
- Smoke inhalation
- Fractured bones
- Eye injuries and loss of vision
- Ear injuries and hearing loss
- Strains and sprains
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Your doctor may give you specific instructions on the best way to recover from your injuries. It is important for both your health and any future claims that you do your best to follow the doctor’s instructions.
Jones Act and Maritime Law Claims
If you are hurt while at sea, you are covered by maritime law. Maritime law has long required that ship owners pay certain damages to injured sailors, regardless of the cause of the accident. The ship owner is required to pay the reasonable cost of your room and board while you recover. Your employer or the ship owner is not allowed to arbitrarily set the amount of your maintenance. Under maritime law you are also entitled to cure. This is money used to pay for your reasonable medical costs.
In addition to maritime law, most sailors are also covered by the Jones Act. This is a federal law that allows injured seamen to file a claim for damages beyond cure and maintenance if the vessel owner, or one of its employees caused your injuries by their negligence.
Under the Jones Act you can get pain and suffering damages. However, you only have a limited time to file a claim under the Jones Act. If you do not file the right way and within the right timeframe, you could lose your chance to get the compensation you are legally entitled to.
When you have been injured in an engine room accident, you can feel as if your whole world is crumbling. Often the money you are supposed to be getting from the ship owner is not enough to cover your bills. You don’t have to feel helpless. We can help you find an experienced maritime injury lawyer who understands engine room accident claims. Contact us today and we can help connect with the right lawyer for your case. Until you have your case evaluated by a maritime injury lawyer, you won’t know the full extent of the damages you may be legally entitled to. Don’t wait another minute. Contact us today and let us help you find a lawyer.