Small Injuries, Big Consequences
First, even the smallest injury can keep you out of work or make it impossible for you to continue working long term on the river or in the Gulf. You have to be 110% healthy. Transferring from barge to barge, tightening ratchets and laying wires is not easy. It is always important to make sure you get excellent medical treatment before you try to return to work, but for you guys it is extra important. Above all, make sure every single medical test has been performed that may possibly show anything wrong with you. This includes MRIs, nerve testing and even CT scan if necessary. Read a great article here about why you should not return to work too soon after your injury.
You Rely on Your Superiors to Keep You Safe
The next important issue in your claim may help you a lot. As the lowest ranking person on the vessel and barges, you rely upon your mate and captain for supervision and guidance. We have won many deckhand cases by showing that even if our client did not use the best possible judgment, the mate and captain should have been more active in supervising or training our client. We always point out that you guys are paid the least on the boat, and that means the guys who make more should have more responsibility for supervision, safety and training.
How to Take Care of the Bills When You Can’t Work
Two final thoughts about your claim as a deckhand. I know a lot of you guys are younger and have young families at home. You struggle with bills and all you want to do is get back to work as soon as you can to make money. But this could be a huge mistake. There are often other ways to pay bills while you are off of work pursuing your claim. These include Short and Long Term disability and other options. Call us to discuss what may be open to you.
Would a Different Company Hire You with Your Injury?
Finally, I always ask the question to all of our clients that puts things in perspective quickly—“could you walk into another company’s office, apply for a deckhand position, disclose your injury, give them all your medical reports, pass the physical…and then get the job?” If you hesitate on this question, chances are you know your days are limited with your company, or even on the water. Many of our deckhand clients begin to feel better once they accept this fact and then focus on obtaining the best results we can in their claim to provide for them in the future. And believe it or not, we have had many deckhand clients return to river work once their claims are resolved and their injury continues to get better. This just depends on your injury.
Call us now to so we can discuss your particular situation. You should know what options are open to you.
An Illinois seaman has filed a Jones Act lawsuit seeking more than $100,000 for back injuries sustained while working as a deckhand on the Mississippi River. Jason R. Baker filed the claim against Columbia Marine Service L.L.C. on March 21, 2011 in Madison County Circuit Court.
The offshore accident occurred in November 2009 on the Mississippi River near East Carondelet. At that time, Baker was a deckhand aboard the vessel Dick Tamayco. The injury was caused when Baker pulled a wire cable to the port winch, and slipped and fell. Baker sustained serious injuries.
Baker is seeking compensation for medical expenses, loss of income and court costs. He is accusing Columbia Marine of not providing a seaworthy vessel and of not providing a safe work environment.