Injuries to the knee can be extremely painful and debilitating. In severe cases, these injuries can be career-ending. Sadly, many knee injuries occur due to negligence, such as unsafe work environments, inadequate training, or a lack of proper safety equipment. In such cases, maritime workers may qualify for benefits or compensation under maritime law.
At Kherkher Garcia, LLP, our offshore maritime injury lawyers want maritime workers to get the compensation they deserve when injuries occur. The aftermath of an injury can be overwhelming, which is why our team is dedicated to providing consistent support in addition to outstanding legal representation.
Below, we discuss knee injuries in the maritime industry, possible compensation, and how you can get help.
Common Knee Injuries in the Maritime Industry
Knee injuries are among the most common types of injuries that occur in the maritime industry. Some of the most common knee injuries that can occur in this industry include:
- Torn Ligaments: Tearing of the ligaments in the knee can occur due to sudden twisting or impact, which can result in significant pain and instability.
- Fractured Kneecap: A fractured kneecap can occur due to impact or falls and can result in significant pain and loss of mobility.
- Meniscus Injuries: The meniscus is a cartilage that cushions the knee joint. Tears in the meniscus can occur due to twisting or impact and can result in significant pain and swelling.
- Patella Dislocation: The patella, or kneecap, can become dislocated due to impact or twisting, which can result in pain, swelling, and instability.
- Hyperextension: Hyperextension of the knee occurs when trauma occurs to the front of the knee bending the knee backwards beyond the usual position. Hyperextension injuries can cause severe or permanent damage to the tendons, cartilage, and ligaments in the knee.
- Bursitis: Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa sacs that cushion the knee joint. It can occur due to repetitive motion or impact and can result in pain and swelling.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that can occur due to wear and tear on the knee joint over time. It can result in pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
Workers who are required to perform tasks that involve heavy lifting, repetitive motion, or prolonged standing or kneeling may be particularly at risk for knee injuries.
Why are Some People More Prone to Knee Injuries than Others?
There are several factors that can contribute to why some people may be more prone to knee injuries than others. Some of these factors include:
- Genetics: Certain genetic factors can contribute to an increased risk of knee injuries. For example, some people may have a naturally weaker or less stable knee joint, which can make them more susceptible to injury.
- Age: As people age, the risk of knee injuries increases. This is because the knee joint may undergo wear and tear over time, which can make it more susceptible to injury.
- Weight: Being a heavier weight can put increased stress on the knee joint, which can increase the risk of injury.
- Prior Injuries: People who have suffered knee injuries in the past may be more prone to future injuries. The knee joint may be weaker or less stable as a result of the previous injury.
- Muscle Weakness or Imbalance: Weakness or imbalance in the muscles that support the knee joint can make it more susceptible to injury. The joint may not be properly supported during movement or impact.
- Physical Activity Level: People who engage in high-impact or high-intensity physical activities, such as running or jumping, may be more prone to knee injuries as a result of stress on the knee joint.
There are several factors that can contribute to why some people may be more prone to knee injuries than others. While some of these factors, such as genetics and age, are beyond a person’s control, others, such as maintaining a healthy weight and properly strengthening the muscles that support the knee joint, can be addressed through lifestyle changes and physical therapy.
What Maritime Jobs Put Workers at Risk for Knee Injuries?
The maritime industry is one of the most dangerous in the world. It is not surprising then that knee injuries are such a common risk – more so for certain occupations than others, of course. There are several maritime jobs in particular that put workers at risk for knee injuries. Some of these jobs include:
- Longshore Work: Longshore workers are responsible for loading and unloading cargo from ships and may be required to kneel or crouch for extended periods of time. This puts strain on the knees.
- Shipbuilding and Shipyard Work: Shipbuilders and shipyard workers may be required to work in confined spaces, climb ladders and scaffolds, and lift heavy objects. These actions put strain on the knees and increase the risk of injury.
- Deckhands: Deckhands are responsible for performing a variety of tasks on ships, including securing cargo, tying and untying lines, and operating winches and other equipment. These tasks can require kneeling, crouching, and working in awkward positions, which puts strain on the knee joints.
- Offshore Oil and Gas Work: Offshore oil and gas workers may be required to work on platforms or rigs for extended periods of time. They may be required to climb ladders, work in confined spaces, and lift heavy objects, which can increase the risk of knee injury.
- Commercial Fishermen: Commercial fishermen may be required to stand for long periods of time on a moving boat, which can put a strain on the knees. They may also be required to lift heavy equipment and operate winches, which can increase the risk of injury.
Any job in the maritime industry that involves heavy lifting, repetitive motions, prolonged standing or kneeling, or working in awkward positions can put workers at risk for knee injuries.
Are Knee Injuries Covered by Maritime Law?
Knee injuries are generally covered by maritime law if they occur while a worker is performing their job duties on a vessel or offshore platform. Under maritime law, such as The Jones Act, maritime workers who are injured while working at sea are entitled to certain legal protections and benefits, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
To be eligible for compensation under maritime law, a knee injury must have occurred while the worker was performing their job duties on a vessel, offshore platform, or dock. This can include injuries sustained while loading or unloading cargo, repairing equipment, or performing other tasks related to the operation of the vessel or platform.
Maritime law also imposes a duty on employers to provide a safe work environment for their employees. If an employer fails to provide a safe workplace and an employee suffers a knee injury as a result, the employer may be held liable for the employee’s injuries and may be required to pay compensation to the injured worker.
What Compensation Can I Receive for Maritime Knee Injuries?
The types of compensation available to you for a knee injury will depend on the circumstances of your injury and the specific provisions of maritime law that apply to your case. Generally, however, some types of compensation that may be available to you include:
- Medical Expenses: You may be eligible for compensation for the cost of medical treatment for your knee injury, including hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and other medical expenses.
- Lost Wages: If your knee injury prevents you from working, you may be eligible for compensation for lost wages and other income that you would have earned if not for the injury.
- Disability Benefits: If your knee injury results in a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
- Pain and Suffering: Some maritime workers qualify for compensation for physical pain, emotional suffering, and other non-economic damages resulting from a knee injury.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If your knee injury prevents you from engaging in activities that you enjoy, you may be able to recover compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive Damages: Some injury cases qualify for punitive damages, such as if your employer acted recklessly or with intentional disregard for your safety. Punitive damages are meant to punish the liable party and deter others from acting in a similar manner.
The specific types and amounts of compensation available to you will depend on the specific facts of your case, including the severity of your knee injury, the extent of your medical treatment, and the impact of your injury on your ability to work and enjoy your life.
When to Contact a Maritime Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered a knee injury while working in the maritime industry, it is important to consult with a maritime injury lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and options for pursuing compensation under maritime law.
Maritime law is complex, and there are strict guidelines for those who qualify for coverage under certain laws. That’s why it is so important to contact a maritime injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. A skilled lawyer will provide representation and support from day one to ensure your legal rights are protected. Furthermore, a skilled lawyer will ensure that you are not taken advantage of by an employer or insurance company.
Contact Our Award Winning Maritime Injury Lawyers
If you have questions about a maritime knee injury or other injury, Kherkher Garcia is here to help. With billions of dollars recovered for our clients, we know what it takes to protect the rights of maritime workers and obtain maximum compensation.
Find out how we can help you by calling us at 713-333-1030. Our consultations are 100% free, so you have nothing to lose by contacting us to explore your rights.