tbi injuries among seamen

The Risk of Traumatic Brain Injuries on a Commercial Boat

When working aboard a commercial boat, you face all sorts of risks. There’s the risk of malfunctioning equipment that can leave you with serious injuries, careless coworkers who fail to protect you during dangerous dives, and the ever-present risks of unknown waters.

Traumatic brain injuries are a serious and possibly lifelong consequence of commercial boat injuries. If you’ve suffered a TBI while working aboard a commercial vessel, learn more about your options now by calling Fuquay Law Firm at 251-219-0329.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Depending on the type of maritime accident you’re involved in, you could suffer a wide range of traumatic brain injuries. They are generally categorized by whether they are closed or penetrating and by their level of severity.

A closed traumatic brain injury occurs when a victim suffers an injury that does not penetrate the skull and brain. For example, a blunt force trauma that knocks the brain into the side of the skull would be a closed TBI. These injuries often result in bruising of the brain tissue and blood vessels. A penetrating TBI occurs when something pierces the skull and enters the brain. For example, a gunshot wound to the head would be a penetrating injury.

There are three levels of TBIs: mild, moderate, and severe. A TBI is considered mild if a victim loses consciousness for just a few seconds or minutes. Moderate TBIs may result in lifelong impairments, but some people do go on to recover fully from moderate injuries. Severe TBIs leave victims with life-threatening permanent injuries that permanently impact their wellbeing and health.

What Causes TBIs on Commercial Vessels?

Several types of maritime accidents can lead to traumatic brain injuries. A maritime worker may slip and fall while on deck, causing them to strike their head on the ground or another obstacle. Workers may also suffer traumatic brain injuries when working with cranes, loading cargo, working with conveyor belts, or working in inclement weather. Equipment that is not stored safely can also leave victims with injuries, as it may fall and strike employees on the head.

Unfortunately, a TBI may leave a seaman unable to continue working. Once a maritime worker experiences a TBI, their employer may want to protect them from further TBIs or worry that permanent deficits will put other crew members in danger. As a result, an injured seaman may have a wide range of costs associated with their brain injury.

Costs Associated with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can be extremely expensive and even require lifelong care. Depending on the type of injury you sustain and the type of maritime work you do, you may be out of work for a matter of days or weeks. In severe cases, you may be permanently unable to return to the type of maritime work you did before the accident.

Beyond the initial traumatic brain injury, victims often suffer complications that rack up further medical bills and limit their ability to work. Common complications associated with maritime TBIs include:

  • Hemorrhaging
  • Bruising of the brain
  • Buildup of cerebral fluid
  • Damage to the nerves or blood vessels
  • Tinnitus
  • Issues with memory, cognition, and emotional regulation

Maritime law exists to protect maritime employees from the financial devastation that these accidents can cause. That’s why it’s important to report your accident and injuries as soon as possible. This allows you to start getting the treatment you need and get the financial support you need to meet your obligations while you’re away from work.

Why You Need an Attorney

Maritime law is a complex sector of the legal industry and discussing your maritime injuries with a general practice attorney may leave you with incorrect information that delays your care and financial support. While most maritime employers work quickly to help injured employees get the medical treatment and payments they need, there are those that try to discourage employees from making claims or otherwise seeking benefits.

Determining liability is important when figuring out who will pay for the costs associated with your traumatic brain injury. In many cases, a TBI is caused by an unseaworthy vessel or poor maintenance of structures within the vessel. This puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the vessel’s owner or the employer.

However, this does not mean that they’ll pay you a full and fair settlement. While you are entitled to maintenance and cure under maritime law, your employer’s insurance company may push you to accept a low offer.

That’s when it’s time to talk to an attorney. An attorney who is well-versed in maritime law will be able to look into your accident, figure out which types of benefits you are entitled to, and assist you as you apply for these benefits. If you run into any roadblocks, your attorney will help you provide the necessary documentation and evidence to get the care you need.

Contact Fuquay Law Firm Now

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury while working on a commercial boat, our team is here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a meeting now by calling us at 251-219-0329 or contacting us online.

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