A lawsuit has recently been filed on behalf of a sailor who was seriously injured while performing his duties of operating a sea-faring vessel. As the injuries occurred while the man was on the job, he is legally entitled to compensation from the company for which he works, as set out in the Jones Act. The worker is now seeking the damages to which he is entitled in court.

The accident occurred when the plaintiff was transporting a pipe on the deck of the vessel on which he was working, when he tripped over an obstruction on the deck and fell. The fall sent the man flying overboard, after which he became trapped underneath the vessel. He sustained major injuries to his back, head, neck and arms, as well as inhaling large amounts of water. He was eventually rescued by fellow crew members and transported to hospital, where he was treated for his injuries.

The plaintiff is seeking damages, claiming negligence and gross negligence from the company he was working for, as well as unseaworthiness of the vessel on which he was working, as he is entitled to under the Jones Act.

The plaintiff believes that his employers were negligent by not providing adequate training to crew members on the vessel and that they did not address glaring safety concerns on the ship, which inadvertently lead to his accident and his resulting injuries. At the time of the incident, the ship owner who the employer was renting the vessel from was also found to be in violation of national safety regulations. Currently the plaintiff’s case is pending in the Galveston County Court.

The plaintiff is currently recovering from his injuries and has been discharged from hospital. However, it is clear that he will not be able to recover completely from the incident and therefore his earning capacity as a sailor has been permanently damaged. Therefore the sailor is seeking both compensation for the medical treatment he received directly as a result of the incident, as well as his continuing rehabilitation.

In accordance with the Jones Act, the plaintiff’s employer should also pay compensation to the sailor for his loss of income while he is recovering from the accident, as well as any future loss of earnings he is expected to incur due to his decreased level of physical functioning.

By litigating accidents such as this, it is hoped that offshore employers will be encouraged to improve safety procedures on their vessels and prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.


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