Seamen have physically hard jobs. These jobs require strength and stamina, and sometimes the job calls for working beyond one’s physical capabilities. When a seaman is injured because he did work beyond his body’s physical capabilities, he has an overexertion injury.
Overexertion is the second leading cause of occupational injury. It is surpassed only by injuries from falls.
Overexertion is defined as an event or exposure that leads to injury because of excessive physical effort in lifting, pulling, pushing, turning, wielding, holding, carrying or throwing. An over exertion injury is likely to occur when a seaman is asked to perform a job that he doesn’t have the strength to complete, when he does not have the appropriate tools, or when a seaman’s muscles are fatigued because he is cold or he has worked for too many hours.
Seamen are at particular risk for overexertion injury because they work long hours in all weather conditions and are likely to work past the point of exhaustion.
Overexertion injuries include strains and sprains and other injuries to the back, shoulders and abdomen.
If you suffer an overexertion injury while working offshore, seek medical attention immediately. Remember, do not sign anything until you have had a medical evaluation, and do not return to work until you are medically cleared and the pain is gone. If you return to work too early, you risk more serious injury.
Treatment for overexertion includes rest and medication for pain and swelling. Untreated injuries can become permanent disabilities, so if you feel pain and the company doctor says nothing is wrong, get a second opinion.
Maritime workers who are injured on the job are eligible for maintenance and cure. Maintenance is defined as the amount it costs for you to maintain yourself on land as your employer did at sea. It is a set rate that your employer pays to cover your housing and food while you are injured. Cure is the coverage of medical expenses that are reasonable and related to your injury. You are eligible for maintenance and cure benefits regardless of how you are injured.
If you are injured because you have been asked to do work that is beyond capability or work that you have not been trained to do, you may have a Jones Act claim. Seamen are covered by Jones Act Law when their injuries are caused by the employer’s negligence. Examples of negligence may include:
If you have been injured while at sea and need help getting compensation for your injuries, contact the maritime law attorneys at The Young Firm of New Orleans. Request our free guide: 6 Secrets Your Company May Not Tell You When You Get Injured Offshore.