Maritime Work Accidents and Falling Overboard By William Chanfrau, Jr. on March 20, 2023

Cargo shipMaritime workers routinely face risks when performing work duties. Some assume that the most significant dangers come from vessel hazards, machinery accidents, or collisions, but the biggest fear for most maritime workers is falling overboard. A simple slip or fall can prove fatal when it takes place on open waters.

The lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau, which serves Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas, understand the dangers of maritime work accidents involving victims falling overboard. Our knowledge of state and federal maritime law assists injury victims in holding liable parties accountable for maritime work accidents and pursuing maximum compensation for injury losses.

Causes of Falling Overboard

The risks of maritime work are well known. Vessels must adhere to legal safety standards and regulations to minimize the risk of an accident. Many maritime work accidents involving falling overboard are due to neglect to uphold safety regulations. Potential causes of overboard accidents include:

  • Defective handrails (loose handrails, handrails that are too short, etc.)
  • Lack of handrails or other guard systems
  • Failure to provide workers with adequate safety equipment
  • Narrow, slippery, or overcrowded walkways
  • Failure to warn workers of rough water conditions
  • Failure to conduct rescue operations when a worker falls overboard

Dangers of Falling Overboard

Drowning is the most obvious danger of falling overboard. Even skilled swimmers can drown if they fall overboard in a maritime work accident. A worker may hit their head and become unconscious before they hit the water, or the current of the water may hold them under so they can’t breathe. Maritime workers who aren’t pulled from the water after falling overboard are likely to die.

Workers who are fortunate enough to be rescued after falling overboard still face serious risks. Other dangers of overboard accidents include:

  • Late or secondary drowning (suffocation within 24 hours of the drowning incident)
  • Immersion syndrome (cardiac arrhythmia provoked by the shock of cold water)
  • Brain damage
  • Hypothermia
  • Broken bones
  • Head, neck, or spinal cord injuries

Liability for Injury Losses

The Jones Act is a federal law that applies to maritime workers. The Jones Act entitles workers to benefits such as medical expenses and lost wages related to work accident injuries. Coverage applies regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

The Jones Act does not provide coverage for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. However, depending on the details of an accident, other parties may be liable for these damages. The lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau investigate maritime work accidents to determine if third parties (vessel owners, contractors, parts manufacturers, etc.) are responsible for injury losses.

Compensation for Injury Losses

Overboard accidents can result in physical, emotional, and financial damages. Our lawyers work with injury victims in the Daytona Beach area to pursue compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, diminished wage-earning capacity, pain and suffering, and wrongful death damages (if the accident results in a fatality).

Contact Us

The lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau work with injury victims following a maritime accident and assist them in pursuing appropriate compensation for damages. If you have questions about your legal rights after a maritime work accident, contact our law firm online or call (386) 258-7313 and schedule a consultation.

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Attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau

Chanfrau & Chanfrau

Chanfrau & Chanfrau has been serving Floridians in Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas since 1976. With three attorneys and two locations, we have the resources to help you after an accident or injury. We are proud of our many achievements, including inclusion in:

  • America's Top 100 Attorneys
  • The National Trial Attorneys Top 100 List
  • Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite

For more information about our legal services, contact our firm online or call (386) 258-7313 today.

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