There are many hazards to working in the maritime industry. Maritime workers are at risk for many types of injuries, including neck injuries. Neck injuries can range from a minor discomfort to a debilitating, or even disabling, injury. If a neck injury occurs due to negligence or the wrongdoing of someone else, maritime workers may qualify for compensation under maritime law.
If you have suffered a neck injury while working in the maritime industry, Kherkher Garcia, LLP can help you find out what compensation you may qualify for. Our offshore maritime injury attorneys have more than 30 years of experience helping maritime workers get the compensation they deserve.
Below, learn more about neck injury risks and how a maritime injury attorney can help you recover after an injury.
Neck Injury Risks for Maritime Workers
Workers in the maritime industry are exposed to a variety of risks, including the risk of sustaining neck injuries. Here are some of the most common neck injury risks for workers in the maritime industry:
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Workers in the maritime industry are often required to walk on slippery surfaces or unstable decks, which can lead to slips, trips, and falls. These types of accidents can cause whiplash, strained neck muscles, and even spinal cord injuries.
Some workers in the maritime industry may be required to perform repetitive motions that put strain on their necks. For example, crane operators or deckhands may be required to constantly look up or turn their heads in a certain direction, which can cause neck pain and discomfort.
Workers in the maritime industry may be required to lift heavy objects, which can put strain on their necks. This can lead to neck sprains or strains, or even more serious injuries like herniated discs.
Workers who operate machinery or equipment that vibrates, such as power tools or engines, can be at risk for developing neck injuries. The vibration can cause strain on the neck muscles and spine, leading to pain and discomfort.
Workers who sit for long periods of time or who use improper ergonomics may be at risk for developing neck injuries. For example, a worker who spends hours hunched over a computer or who uses a poorly designed chair may experience neck pain and discomfort.
To reduce the risk of neck injuries in the maritime industry, it’s important for employers to provide adequate training and safety equipment, such as anti-vibration gloves or ergonomic chairs. Workers should also be encouraged to take breaks and stretch their necks throughout the day, and to report any pain or discomfort to their supervisor immediately.
Types of Neck Injuries in Maritime Occupations
There are many different types of neck injuries, but some of the most common include:
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck that occurs when the head is suddenly and violently jerked back and forth. It is most commonly caused by car accidents, but can also occur from falls or other types of trauma. Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping.
Neck sprain is an injury to the ligaments that support the neck. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect bones to other bones. Neck sprains can be caused by a sudden twisting or jerking motion of the neck, such as in a car accident or sports injury. Symptoms of a neck sprain can include pain, stiffness, swelling, and bruising.
Neck strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons in the neck. Muscles are the soft tissues that contract to move the bones, while tendons are the tough bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones. Neck strains can be caused by overuse, poor posture, or a sudden movement. Symptoms of a neck strain can include pain, stiffness, and weakness.
Herniated disc is a condition in which the soft, jelly-like center of a spinal disc pushes out through the tough outer layer of the disc. This can happen when the disc is injured, such as from a fall or car accident. Herniated discs can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the neck and down the arm.
A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated by surrounding tissue, such as a herniated disc or tight muscles. This can cause neck pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands.
Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain, numbness, and tingling in the neck and down the arm. Cervical stenosis can be caused by age-related wear and tear, arthritis, or a previous injury.
If you experience any of the symptoms of a neck injury, it is important to see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent further damage and improve your recovery.
Treatment Options for Neck Injuries
The treatment for a neck injury will vary depending on the severity of the injury and the underlying cause. In general, treatment may include:
- Rest: This is the most important part of treatment for most neck injuries. It allows the neck to heal and prevents further damage.
- Ice: Applying ice to the neck can help to reduce pain and swelling.
- Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: These can help to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the neck muscles and improve range of motion.
- Cervical Collar: A cervical collar can help to support the neck and prevent further injury.
- Steroid Injections: In some cases, steroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation.
- Surgery: Surgery may be necessary in severe cases of neck injury, such as when there is nerve damage or spinal cord compression.
The recovery time for a neck injury will vary depending on the severity of the injury and the person’s overall health. Most people will make a full recovery within a few weeks or months. However, some people may have chronic pain or other problems that persist for longer periods of time.
What to Do After Suffering a Neck Injury
If you suffer a head injury at work, it’s important to take the following steps:
- Seek Medical Attention: If you or a coworker suffer a head injury, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Even if the injury seems minor, it’s possible that it could be more serious than it appears. A healthcare professional can assess the severity of the injury and recommend treatment.
- Report the Injury: Make sure to report the head injury to your supervisor or HR representative as soon as possible. This will help ensure that the injury is documented and that you are eligible for any workers’ compensation benefits that may be available.
- Document the Incident: Write down what happened, including the date, time, and location of the incident, as well as the names of any witnesses. This information may be useful if you need to file a workers’ compensation claim or take legal action.
- Follow Medical Advice: If a healthcare professional recommends that you take time off work or limit your activities, it’s important to follow their advice. Ignoring their advice could lead to further injury or delay your recovery.
- Contact an Attorney: If you are not sure what your legal rights are, or if you believe that your employer may be responsible for the head injury, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation or personal injury law. They can help you understand your options and protect your rights.
By taking these steps, you can help ensure that you receive the medical care and compensation you need to recover from a head injury sustained on the job.
Can I File a Claim for Neck Injuries?
Maritime workers who suffer neck injuries while on the job may be eligible to file claims for compensation under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Under the Jones Act, maritime workers who are injured while working on a vessel may be able to sue their employer for damages. This includes compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the neck injury.
The LHWCA provides benefits to maritime workers who are injured while working on navigable waters, including harbors, docks, and terminals. These benefits may include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.
In order to be eligible for compensation under either the Jones Act or the LHWCA, the worker must show that their neck injury was caused by the negligence of an employer or other party, or unseaworthiness of the vessel. This may require gathering evidence, such as eyewitness accounts, medical records, and accident reports.
How a Maritime Injury Attorney Can Help after a Neck Injury
If you have neck injuries due to your work in a maritime occupation, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced maritime attorney. A maritime injury attorney can help in several ways if you suffer a neck injury:
- Legal Guidance: A maritime injury attorney can provide legal guidance on the best course of action for a neck injury sustained while working in the maritime industry. They can help workers understand their legal rights and the potential legal remedies available to them.
- Investigation: The attorney can conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the neck injury, including gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. This can help determine the cause of the injury and who may be liable for it.
- Insurance Claims: The attorney can assist the worker in filing insurance claims with their employer or the responsible party, and help ensure that they receive the compensation they are entitled to for their neck injury.
- Litigation: If the responsible party refuses to compensate the worker for their neck injury, the attorney can file a lawsuit on their behalf. The attorney can represent the worker in court and fight for their legal rights to compensation.
- Negotiation: The attorney can negotiate a settlement with the responsible party, either through mediation or a formal settlement conference. This can help the worker receive compensation for their neck injury without having to go to trial.
A maritime injury attorney can provide valuable legal advice and representation following a neck injury while working in the maritime industry. At Kherkher Garcia, our attorneys help workers navigate the complex legal system and protect their legal rights.
Get Your Free Maritime Injury Consultation
If you are injured while working in the maritime industry, it is important to get adequate medical care and legal guidance as soon as possible. At Kherkher Garcia, our maritime injury attorneys help ensure that maritime workers understand their rights, get the medical care they need, and get the compensation they deserve.
To find out more about your rights as a maritime worker, contact us for a free consultation. To get started, call us at 713-333-1030, or complete our online form.