Maritime shoulder injuries are common in the industry. A shoulder injury can be serious and prevent you from being able to do your job. As a seaman, you have the right to compensation if you get injured on the job, including shoulder injuries, thanks to maritime laws.
Maritime Work and Shoulder Injuries
There are two primary ways in which you can injure your shoulder on the job:
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Repetitive Motion Injuries
Many jobs in the maritime industry require repeating the same motion over and over. This can lead to soft tissue damage. For instance, if your job includes a lot of lifting, you may injure your shoulder. Lifting heavy objects can cause damage to the joint over time.
Maritime settings are also susceptible to accidents, which can cause a shoulder injury. You might slip and fall on the deck of a ship or work with dangerous equipment that hasn’t been adequately maintained.
Another example might occur when a winch that is not working right jerks your shoulder and cause an acute and painful injury.
Unsecured cargo could fall on you and damage your shoulder. If you haven’t been well trained in safety procedures, this could increase your shoulder injury risk.
Types of Shoulder Injuries
You can damage your shoulder in many ways, and that can develop during a maritime job, as this is a complicated joint used regularly. There are four main categories of shoulder injury:
- Tendinitis. Tendinitis is the inflammation of tendons in the shoulder. You can develop tendinitis in the shoulder if you perform a lot of lifting or throwing on the job. It usually occurs slowly when wearing the tendon down over time.
- Shoulder Dislocation. Dislocation of the shoulder joint happens when your upper arm bone comes out of the joint. This can be a full or partial dislocation, and it is excruciating. It is caused by overuse of the shoulder joint but can also happen suddenly in an accident.
- Bone Fractures. Fractures, or broken bones, in the shoulder area usually involve the collarbone, upper arm bone, or shoulder blade. You could get a fracture if you fall, are assaulted, or have something fall on you.
- Arthritis. Arthritis, or joint swelling, comes in many different forms and is not always caused by working conditions, but it can be caused by overuse. If you have to move your shoulder joint repeatedly for your job duties, you could develop arthritis over time.
Treatment for Shoulder Injuries
If you have injured your shoulder on the job, you should seek medical treatment immediately and get documentation.
Shoulder damage is treated differently depending on the injury and the individual. Common treatment approaches include rest and changing your activities to let the joint heal, using medications to reduce inflammation and pain, and surgery to correct damage in the joint.
How you respond to treatment will depend on the extent of your injury. Some shoulder injuries can be severe, and you may never recover full joint articulation.
You may also experience chronic pain in that joint. Under maritime law, you are entitled to compensation for the medical treatment you receive for your on-the-job shoulder injury. You may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, and lost future wages.
What to Do if You Injure Your Shoulder on the Job
Getting treatment right away for any shoulder injury you get on the job is essential. Ensure your treatment is documented and you retain copies of your file.
You also need to file an incident report as soon as possible. Your superior will complete the information and send it to your employer and your employer’s insurer so that you can make a claim for compensation.
It is your responsibility to ensure this report is completed and includes as much detail about the incident as possible.
A statute of limitations on the various maritime laws confers you the right to compensation, so get treatment and a report filed as soon as possible. If your injury accumulates, the amount of time you have to file a claim begins when you first diagnose damage to the shoulder caused by repeated motions at work.
If you feel like you should be receiving compensation for your shoulder injury and you are not, look for an attorney with experience in maritime law. This professional can help you file a claim under the appropriate laws to get the damages you are entitled to.
Working with an experienced professional could make the difference between getting what you are owed and losing your case.