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Thousands of people make their livings on Lake Erie or on watercraft that navigates the Toledo rivers. Offshore injuries strike workers regularly throughout northwest Ohio and the United States. It’s understandable for anyone to be confused about what they must do if they are hurt in a maritime accident because the process can be very complicated. Federal laws apply to many instances of maritime injury, but it’s possible that your case will also be subject to Ohio jurisdiction. It’s important to have skilled legal counsel helping you and your family through the complex legal process that follows an offshore injury. As personal injury attorneys with years of experience, we know how to seek appropriate compensation in a timely fashion for you during this difficult time.
Contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick to speak with a Toledo offshore accident lawyer. We can help you understand your options for recovery for you and your loved ones. Contact our office in Toledo today at (419) 324-8205.
The Jones Act Applies to Work Injuries Offshore Jobs
Unlike most every other Ohio worker, a maritime worker is generally prohibited from recovering workers’ compensation when they are hurt on the job. The federal Jones Act is a law that is meant to give these workers a system that can give them financial support in the event of a work injury. The Jones Act applies to all crew workers, referred to as seamen, who spend at least 30% of their time working on a vessel. Furthermore, it applies to all vessels “in navigation”. This means that the vessel is afloat, in operation, capable of moving, and on navigable waters. The Jones Act requires employers to use ordinary care under the circumstances to keep the vessel in a reasonably safe condition for workers.
Unlike Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, the Jones Act requires for your lawyer to demonstrate fault by the other party in your case. It must be shown that the other party’s negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries. To establish your right to recover under this law, your lawyer must prove the following elements:
- You were employed on a vessel
- Your employer’s actions played a part in the accident which caused you harm
- The extent of your harm can be demonstrated by accident reports, medical bills, etc
There Are Many Causes of Maritime Accidents in the Toledo Area
Passenger and cargo vessels are large vehicles that are very complex. There are almost countless ways an accident can be caused on these craft, and the consequences can be very serious for anyone on or near the ship. The Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies reports that workers in maritime industries are over four times as likely to be injured on the job than the average for all workers in the United States. Data collected by the Ohio Department of Public Safety finds that hundreds of accident victims are seriously hurt or killed every year on our state’s waterways. While many of these injured people are hurt while on the job, it can be difficult to obtain accurate statistics. Many cases go unreported or workers hurt in Ohio may seek medical attention out of state.
Our Toledo maritime accident lawyers have represented many workers hurt on Ohio’s lakes and rivers. Your injury case is unique; you need a lawyer who understands how to investigate the cause of your accident. We have seen maritime accidents and injuries result from the following:
- Defective equipment – Your employer must make sure that the machines and equipment on your vessel are in working order. Failure to properly maintain a ship’s engine may have been the cause of a recent fire aboard a vessel docked at the Port of Toledo in Oregon.
- Improperly trained crew – A terrible accident can leave you seriously hurt if you or a coworker are not given sufficient training by your employer. Maritime workers can easily be injured or killed by the powerful machinery or in the event of falling overboard.
- Slip and falls – The walkways and deck of a ship must be free of hazardous obstacles or slick surfaces. Falls often cause extensive physical damage that can be long lasting or permanent.
- Falling objects – Ships often rock back and forth as they navigate turns winding waterways such as the Maumee River or experience rough water on Lake Erie. Dangerous and heavy objects must be properly secured or they can fall on someone causing serious physical harm.
- Poor electrical systems – Even smaller vessels often have significant amounts of wiring and electrical power. Damaged or out of date electrical systems must be addressed by a ship’s owner or else they can cause a worker to sustain an electric shock or fatal electrocution.
- Repetitive use – Offshore workers often have jobs that involve repeating the same movement over and over again. This can cause damage or inflammation to joints, nerves, or tendons.
- Assault – Many workplaces have incidents of assault that result in injuries being sustained by employees. You have the right to seek compensation from an employer who did not take reasonable steps to keep you safe from a violent act perpetrated by another.
Maritime Accident Injuries Can Be Severe and Debilitating
An injury on the water can pose a risk of extensive physical damage or even death. Many people who are hurt in maritime accidents have a difficult time getting to emergency medical help, and this delay can make their injuries worse. Your offshore accident attorney must gain a full understanding of the harm that you have suffered in a work accident. This will allow for you to recover all of the compensation that you need in order to make a proper recovery. Some serious types of injuries that affect offshore workers hurt on the job include:
- Head, neck, and back injuries – Workers aboard vessels traveling on the water are often struck by falling objects, or they suffer from a slip and fall. These injuries can have long-lasting effects, and they sometimes seem minor but only get worse over several days or weeks.
- Broken bones – A broken bone can cause extensive pain and greatly harm a person’s ability to perform routine physical actions. Offshore workers may have trouble getting medical attention quickly, and this can make the consequences of a broken bone much more severe.
- Respiratory illness – Both new and olders ships can have many toxic chemicals aboard. Unsafe exposure to these substances can cause painful and permanent damage to tissue in your respiratory system which may result in serious difficulty breathing.
- Burns – Fires are a constant threat to those who are traveling on the water. A fire can quickly get out of control, and your burns can threaten your life and pose a risk of serious illness.
- Amputations and lost limbs – An offshore accident can result in heavy or sharp objects slamming into your body. Many victims sustain crushed limbs or fingers resulting in extensive damage and the possibility of an amputation.
- Joint injuries – Your shoulders, knees, and hips can be seriously hurt if you slip and fall, or if you are struck by an object that is not securely stored aboard your ship. Joint injuries can be caused by many things such as broken bones or torn ligaments, and they may need a lot of time or even surgery in order to get better.
- Cuts and lacerations – Ships are full of dangerous objects that can cause serious cuts in the event of an accident or malfunction. You can lose a lot of blood, and punctures and lacerations can damage vital organs.
- Post-traumatic stress – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can cause debilitating psychological and emotional harm to the victim of an accident. Your PTSD must be addressed by professional therapists if you seek to get better before too long.
The Maritime Accident Lawyers at Kisling, Nestico, & Redick Can Help You
Being injured while on a vessel offshore can be extremely serious. Your injuries might be painful and life-threatening, but it can also be difficult to get emergency medical attention in a timely manner. Maritime accidents can have long-lasting effects, and the legal process for recovery is complex. It’s important to find skilled legal counsel without delay. Unlike many other injury cases, maritime accidents are covered by federal laws as well as Ohio personal injury law. Your lawyer must have experience investigating a complex offshore accident, and understand how to navigate the legal process that is necessary for you and your family to recover compensation. Do not delay in calling one of our Toledo maritime accident lawyers. Ohio’s statute of limitations requires a personal injury claim be filed within two years of the accident, but the federal government’s Jones Act allows three years before filing. Your case may have many different parties involved, and it can be challenging to find and review all relevant evidence. Therefore, call your lawyer as soon as possible.
The legal team at Kisling, Nestico & Redick have helped many workers after they have been injured in maritime accidents. Our experienced lawyers can help you with every part of the recovery process. Contact our office in Toledo today at (419) 324-8205.