Houston Maritime Burn Injury Lawyers
Fishermen, oil rig workers, sailors, and other seafarers might mistakenly believe that being near water will protect them from burn-related accidents and injuries. However, this threat is very real. Burn injuries and their numerous causes occur across different industries. According to the American Burn Association, more than 400,000 Americans receive treatment for burn injuries each year.
Burn injuries are as common in the ocean as they are on land. And while burns are always severe life-altering injuries, both mentally and physically, those that occur in water bodies can be especially dangerous for maritime workers.
If you or a loved one suffered burn injuries aboard a ship, boat, or ocean platform because maintenance or safety protocols were ignored or because there was a failure to take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe, talk to a Houston maritime burn injury lawyer. The legal team at Johnson Garcia has over 35 years of experience helping burn injury victims involved in maritime accidents obtain compensation and benefits under maritime law.
Call 832-844-6700 now to schedule a free evaluation of your offshore burn injury.
Common Causes of Houston Maritime Burn Injuries
There is little doubt that conditions for individuals working on offshore oil rig platforms and commercial shipping and fishing vessels are risky. Maritime work often involves many moving parts, extreme temperatures, heavy machinery, and hazardous chemicals — a combination of factors that, without proper training, safety, and maintenance protocols in place, can turn dangerous or deadly.
Despite the fact that water surrounds maritime platforms and vessels, onboard fires can spread quickly, trapping mariners and passengers in tight spaces with nowhere to go. While fires may be the apparent cause of maritime burn injuries, mariners can sustain burn injuries from various sources, including:
- Flammable cargo
- Corrosive chemicals
- Boiler and engine room accidents
- Electrical equipment damage
- Steam and hot water from pipes
In many cases, the causes of maritime burn injuries listed above can be traced back to negligent acts or omissions, including:
- Lack of proper inspection protocols causing an increase in the risk of fires and explosions due to defective equipment going undetected.
- Lack of safety equipment and procedures, such as fire suppression equipment, and failure to enforce smoking bans on gas and oil platforms.
- Failure to properly repair and maintain equipment such as engines and compressors.
- Careless storage and disposal of flammable and hazardous substances, such as chemicals, oil, and gas.
- Lack of proper ventilation.
Types of Maritime Burn Injuries in Houston
Direct contact with fire, extreme heat from steam or water, chemicals, radiation, electricity, or friction can all result in burn injuries in the maritime industry. All these burn hazards are present on offshore rigs and maritime vessels.
Medical professionals classify burn injuries into four categories, which range from minor to life-threatening and include:
First Degree Burns
While first-degree burns are considered the least severe of the four types of burn injuries, they can still affect your daily activities, including your ability to work. When a victim suffers first-degree burns, only the outermost layer of the skin is affected. They may experience symptoms such as redness, swelling, peeling, and discomfort but without any blisters.
Second Degree Burns
When a person sustains second-degree burns, the injury affects the outer layer of the skin and extends to the skin’s second layer — the dermis. After a second-degree burn, the burn will hurt to the touch, and there may also be blisters. Other signs of these burns include red skin, swelling, and discomfort. Second-degree burns can cause scarring, discoloration, or other permanent damage depending on the affected site, the severity of the burn, and how quickly it was treated.
Third Degree Burns
Sometimes referred to as “full-thickness burns,” third-degree burns damage or destroy the deepest layers of the skin. These burns can even go deep enough to the point of damaging the tissue beneath the skin, damaging nerve endings, and causing life-long injuries such as partial paralysis, nerve damage, or discolored skin or tissue.
Fourth Degree Burns
Fourth-degree burns are the most severe and life-altering type of burn injury. These burns completely destroy all three layers of the victim’s skin, damaging tendons, muscles, and even bones in severe cases. Fourth-degree burns have severe implications on a victim’s quality of life and can lead to acute disfigurement or death due to complications such as sepsis.
Severe Burn Injury Complications
Severe burn injuries often lead to serious medical and psychological difficulties. In many cases, treatment may involve painful skin grafts, multiple reconstructive surgeries, or even amputation. Some complications that may arise after a burn injury include:
- Blood loss
- Damaged joints
- Pulmonary edema
- Cerebral hypoxia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Proving Your Houston Maritime Burn Injury Claim
If you or a loved one suffered a burn injury aboard an offshore platform or vessel, you should speak with experienced Houston maritime burn injury lawyers. Medical and wage benefits may be available to cover daily living expenses and necessary medical expenses for seafarers who suffer injuries at work aboard vessels.
Many maritime injuries are preventable. If your injury was partly caused by the vessel’s unseaworthiness or your employer’s negligence, you could qualify for additional damages under the Jones Act. When proving negligence after a maritime burn injury, you must establish that:
- You suffered an injury or other loss,
- Another party caused your injury or loss, and
- The other party’s failure to exercise reasonable caution caused your injury or loss.
Maritime burn injury claims can be complex, and you’ll need all the help you can get, including resources, knowledge, and experience. The Johnson Garcia legal team can help. Our knowledgeable and relentless Houston maritime accident attorneys will investigate your burn injury and determine if the shipowner, your employer, or a third party, such as a contractor, was at fault.
If the other party makes a low offer or attempts to dodge liability, our attorneys in Houston are prepared to go to trial to fight for the justice you deserve.
Contact the Houston Maritime Burn Injury Lawyers at Johnson Garcia to Discuss Your Case
Maritime burn injuries come with a host of medical, financial, and psychological difficulties. The harrowing nature of such injuries is typically coupled with excruciating, drawn-out, and expensive treatments and surgeries. Quite often, the lives of maritime workers who have endured burn injuries are changed forever. Some are left with permanent physical and emotional scars. They may also lose their ability to enjoy their lives or even work again, making it next to impossible for them to rebuild the life they had before.
Johnson Garcia can help. We have significant experience representing maritime burn injury victims and their families. Our Houston legal team thoroughly understands maritime law. We will advise you regarding the best legal course of action, guide you through the process, and put up a vicious fight to get the results you deserve after a burn injury offshore. Contact us today at 832-844-6700 to book your free initial consultation.