Nearly one year ago, a Louisiana seaman was seriously injured while he was working for Noble Corp. and Noble Drilling Corp. off the shores of Louisiana. He said that he was trying to fix a hydraulic pump that was no longer working when he suffered a maritime workplace injury. Like any employee, seamen and other maritime workers have the right to safe workplaces. Though their jobs often require vigilance, they should not expect to be injured and, if they are, they can be held accountable under federal maritime law.
The seaman who was injured while on a ship owned by Noble has filed a maritime lawsuit against his employer in federal court in New Orleans. He has said that when he was checking the wrench size on the defective valve, the hydraulic fluid burst from the valve and threw the man 6 feet in the air and onto the deck of the ship. The fluid was under a pressure of 3000 psi and hit the man in his face and head.
Though it is unknown the exact nature of his injuries, the seaman has asked for $3 million in damages for his maritime workplace injuries. Of that award, part of it is interest, but the remainder is for his mental and physical pain. He has said that he has since suffered from depression and that the accident has had a significant and negative impact on his marriage, requiring him to change his lifestyle. He has also had a period of disability and is asking for his lost wages. Finally, part of the award would be for future medical treatments and care.
Working on a ship does come with certain risks and hazards, but if a seaman is safe, he or she should be able to work without injury. When these types of maritime workplace injuries do occur, however, a seaman is able to file a maritime lawsuit against the employer that failed to ensure his or her safety.
Source: The Louisiana Record, “Seaman sues after being hit by high pressure hydraulic fluid,” Michelle Keahey, July 13, 2012