HomeFAQsMaritime InjuriesHow will I be able to prove that I suffered a neck injury in a maritime accident?

How will I be able to prove that I suffered a neck injury in a maritime accident?

Working as a maritime seaman can be a dangerous job. If you are a Jones Act seaman and have suffered a neck injury in this line of work, you want the best medical care and benefits you can get. Knowing more about your condition can help you to deal with your injury and recovery.

Neck injuries are often complicated and can range in severity from whiplash to spinal cord damage. In addition, oftentimes injury to one particular part of your neck can lead to damage in other parts. Keep in mind that while there are common types of neck injuries, you could be suffering from more than one.

Most neck trauma is limited to the soft tissue, or muscles. However, all conditions involve at least the muscle and may involve the nerves and spinal cord. Here are the most common neck traumas:

  • Crick in the Neck: While not usually a serious medical condition, a “crick” or “kink” can range from a simple muscle strain to a spasm or even a disc problem. You should see a doctor if your crick lasts longer than a week.
  • Muscle Strain: Heavy lifting or awkward movements usually cause this disorder. Again, if discomfort lasts a week, seek medical advice.
  • Neck Sprain: When the ligaments, which hold the bones in place, are damaged, a sprain can result, which ranges from mild to severe. If you suspect that your sprain is severe, you should contact a physician immediately.
  • Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD): Whiplash occurs when the head is quickly hyper-extended, then thrown forward. While this often results in a strain or sprain, it can also cause damage in the nerves and/or spinal cord.
  • Herniated Disc: When the soft tissue inside the disc is pushed out during a trauma, a herniated disc may occur. A more serious injury, this condition may be treated with medication and therapy or even surgery.
  • Neck Fracture: A broken cervical bone is one of the most serious neck injuries. Almost always caused by a force trauma like falling on the head. A spinal dislocation accompanies most fractures.
  • Spinal Dislocation: Spinal dislocation happens when a neck bone is forced out of its usual position. This injury can range from moderate, when the neck bone does not move fully out, to severe, when the bone is completely out of position. In this case, the ligaments rupture and may require surgery.

Injuries sustained from maritime accidents can be quite serious, but sometimes it may be difficult to tell the difference between a serious injury and a soft tissue injury that will heal by itself after some time.

Sustaining a neck injury as a merchant seaman can hamper your ability to work and earn a living permanently. Depending on the nature of your neck injury after a maritime accident, you may face certain complications proving the veracity of your injury. A bone injury with damages that are visible on an imaging scan, such as an x-ray, is one thing; on the other hand, a soft tissue neck injury like a ligament tear can be impossible to prove without thorough medical documentation.

In order to recognize when back, spine or neck injuries warrant neck injury claims, familiarize yourself with the symptoms of one of the most common neck injuries, a slipped disc:

  • numbness;
  • tingling;
  • weakness; and
  • shoulder, neck, arm or hand pains.

A slipped disc can be diagnosed after your doctor reviews imaging studies, like x-rays or MRI scans. Remember, you’re entitled to see a doctor of your own choosing under the Jones Act and admiralty law, so be sure to seek the opinion of a physician who has no connection with your employer or employer’s insurance provider.

In cases such as those, it’s vital that you let your doctor – and you should make sure that your doctor is a physician of your choosing with no ties to your employer or the employer’s insurance carrier – know that you are pursuing a lawsuit so that he or she takes note of any and all aspects of your neck injury, including:

  • hampered ranges of mobility;
  • levels of pain;
  • muscle spasms;
  • visible injury;
  • swelling;
  • bruising; and
  • any other ramifications.  

Before you approach the insurance company, speak with a maritime accident attorney who has handled Jones Act merchant seaman injury cases such as yours. Your lawyer can file a claim on your behalf and handle dealing with your employer and your employer’s insurance carrier and will fight to get you the maintenance and cure benefits that you are entitled to. If particular malfeasance or negligence played a role in the maritime accident that caused your injury, you may be eligible for additional benefits under the Jones Act and maritime law provisions.

Contact a Jones Act Attorney Who Can Help You after Maritime Accidents

The Jones Act law provides you with certain protections your employer may not want you to know about. An admiralty law attorney from The Young Firm in New Orleans, Louisiana, can help you if you have suffered boating accident injuries, an offshore accident or other injuries that fall under maritime law. Though we are based in Louisiana, we are ready and able to help injured victims with their neck injury claims throughout the U.S. Order our free Maritime Injury Law guide and/or our guide to what to do when you are injured offshore to learn all about your rights as an injured worker. n you are ready to get started with your Jones Act injury case, we urge you to contact us today for a FREE case evaluation – call toll-free at 1-866-703-2590 FREE.

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