Amputations are among the most devastating injuries for maritime workers. Maritime amputations can spell the end of a career on a vessel or offshore, can impact a person’s sense of self or even their ability to return to daily routines and favorite hobbies.
If you’ve been the victim of a maritime incident that has resulted in an immediate loss of limb or an injury that has ultimately required life-saving amputation, you may wish to speak with a Houston maritime amputation injury lawyer. An attorney can help you understand the options for legal claims. If you have a legal claim, pursuing compensation can mean you don’t pay for the costs of surgery, medical care, pain management, prosthetics, occupational therapy, and other support out of pocket.
How Do Maritime Accidents That Lead to Amputations Tend to Happen?
Jones Act seamen and offshore workers are around heavy machinery, including winches, cargo belts, hatches, chains, and other equipment, all of which pose a hazard. Bad weather and the natural movement of a vessel on the water can make these pieces of equipment especially dangerous, and this can lead to amputations in several types of situations:
- A limb may get caught between rollers
- Moving or falling cargo can crush a worker’s limb
- A conveyor belt can pull an employee into machinery
- Marine vessels can collide, causing heavy machinery to move or causing workers to get trapped between steel
- A worker can get caught in a net or other piece of equipment, cutting off circulation to part of the body
While amputations can be described as “accidents,” they are often preventable. Amputations can be caused by mechanical defects in equipment, poor maintenance of work equipment, insufficient safety practices, poor training, and other causes.
The best way to determine whether an amputation was caused by negligence and whether a legal claim is possible is by speaking with an experienced maritime injury attorney.
What Kind of Costs and Recovery Are Associated with a Maritime Amputation?
Amputations are among the most expensive injuries to sustain, costing an average of $509,275 over a lifetime. The recovery process can take months or years, and this is a permanent injury, meaning it can impact mobility, job prospects, and a person’s life for the rest of their years.
A person with an amputation may need to pay for surgery to improve the appearance of a limb or to remove damaged tissue. They will generally need follow-up, pain management, and visits to specialists. Today, prosthetics can give people living with amputations a chance at greater mobility and independence, but the process of getting fitted for prosthetics and purchasing and replacing these medical devices can be time-consuming and expensive. In addition, those living with amputation may need supportive services, including gait training, physical therapy, psychotherapy, treatment for stress, and other support to manage their injury.
What Kind of Recovery Is Available?
Every claim is different, but in general, if a person has suffered an amputation as part of their offshore or maritime employment, there may be a claim, especially if the injury occurred due to unsafe working conditions, faulty equipment, a collision between two vessels, or any incident where negligence may have played a part.
The location and severity of the amputation and injury and its impact on a person’s life will play a role in determining whether there is a claim and how much that claim may be worth. Any potential case will also be impacted by any misconduct which caused the incident and by the severity of the impact on a plaintiff’s life and ability to earn an income.
If you have suffered an amputation after a maritime event, your life will be forever changed. You may not be able to return to your workplace because of your injury and you may be facing considerable medical bills. To find out whether you have a claim, consult with a maritime amputation attorney in Houston. An experienced attorney can examine the specifics of your case and give you a sense of your potential claim.
What’s The Process Like to Seek and Recover Compensation?
Cases involving maritime amputations are very different from cases involving amputation caused by a car accident or other incident. Maritime injuries may be governed by specific laws, such as:
- The Jones Act. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, generally applies to workers who spend 30% or more of their time on a vessel.
- The Public Vessels Act. If an amputation occurs on a vessel operated and owned by the U.S. Federal government, the Public Vessels Act may apply.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers and Compensation Act (LHWCA). For dockworkers, dock workers, longshoremen, and shipyard workers who have suffered an amputation or other injury, this law may apply.
If you have suffered an amputation while working offshore or on a vessel, the process of securing compensation will begin with a consultation with an experienced maritime amputation attorney at a law firm such as Johnson Garcia. An attorney will analyze your case, evaluate which maritime laws may apply, consider any liable parties, and discuss your claim with you.
The lawsuit process begins with filing a claim against the liable parties, which may include the manufacturers of any faulty equipment which caused your injury. Once the defendants have been served and have had a chance to respond, the discovery process begins. This will involve both sides securing and sharing evidence, which can include depositions.
At any point before trial, both sides may be able to settle. Your attorney will negotiate and advise you about your options so you can make an educated decision about settlements. If no agreement can be reached, your case may go all the way to trial, where a court or jury will determine whether you are entitled to compensation and will decide how much you are entitled to.
How Can an Experienced Houston Maritime Amputation Injury Lawyer Like Johnson Garcia Help?
The process of securing compensation after a maritime injury is complex and can take months or years. Your attorney is an important part of the process, taking care of negotiations, paperwork, depositions, evidence-gathering, and the many other steps needed for a successful outcome. The attorneys at Johnson Garcia are here to make the process easier on you and to bring their years of experience to the table so you have the best chance at a successful outcome possible.
Johnson Garcia has experience with the Jones Act, other maritime laws, and maritime injury. This means we’re poised to represent workers who have been injured offshore or while working in maritime occupations. No matter your injury, our track record of results speaks for itself. Over our more than 30 years of combined experience, we’ve recovered more than $100 million on behalf of clients. If you’re looking for an experienced Houston maritime amputation injury lawyer, contact Johnson Garcia today for a consultation.