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Offshore Hand Injuries: A Louisiana Jones Act Lawyer Discusses Your Rights

Have you sustained a hand injury while working offshore?  You are not alone; finger and hand injuries are among the most common on-the-job injuries suffered by seamen.

Whether you work on an offshore oil platform, a barge or a supply vessel, if you are a seaman, you rely on your hands to do your job.  Although the hand and wrist seem simple, if any of the 27 bones, nerves, arteries, veins, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint cartilage in the hand are injured, you may not be able to work until your hand heals.

Types of hand injuries:

  • Lacerations (cuts)
  • Contusions (bruises)
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Crushing injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Infections
  • Repetitive motion and vibration injuries

There are many ways that a seaman can sustain a hand injury.  Some common causes of hand injuries among maritime workers include:

  • Heavy machinery accidents
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Electrical or chemical fires
  • Improperly secured cargo
  • Heavy lifting
  • Falling objects
  • Mooring line accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Cargo loading and unloading accidents
  • Repetitive motion and vibration

Many hand injuries can be prevented with proper training, equipment maintenance and safety equipment.  It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that your work environment is safe.

Preventing Offshore Hand Injuries

Many hand injuries can be avoided if safety precautions are taken. Here are some steps you can take to prevent hand injuries while on-the-job.

  • Use extra caution when working near machinery, moving structures, and parts.
  • Do not use tools or machinery that you have not been trained to use.
  • Use care when lifting cargo or other heavy items.
  • Be aware that metal drums, pipes, lines, winches, forklifts, and crates can cause hand injury. When working, watch for pinch points.
  • If appropriate, wear protective gloves.
  • If your job requires repetitive motions, take breaks to give your hands a rest.
  • Use caution when working with electricity, steam or hot objects.

Maintenance and Cure

If you are a Jones Act seaman and you are unable to work because of a hand injury, you are entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits from your employer.  Maintenance payments cover a portion of your living expenses while you are recovering from your hand injury.  Cure provides payment for your medical costs.

Jones Act Rights
If your injury was caused by employer negligence, improper training, or unseaworthy conditions aboard a vessel, you may have a Jones Act claim.  Jones Act damages include: pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of wages and fringe benefits.

Not sure if you have a case? Unseaworthiness encompasses a variety of injury causes; if you aren’t sure that you have a case, please discuss it with a Louisiana Jones Act lawyer.  The initial appointment is free, so you have nothing to lose.

For more information about your Jones Act rights, request our free tool kit of information including a copy of the book: “Employee’s Guide to Maritime Injury Law”.  If you would like to review your own claim with a Louisiana Jones Act lawyer, contact the Young Firm at 866-666-5129.

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