Debt & Insolvency
Debt & InsolvencyMore Information
- Family Law
Medical NegligenceMore Information
Birth Injury & Pregnancy Claims
Birth Injury & Pregnancy ClaimsMore Information
Cardiac & Heart Negligence
Cardiac & Heart NegligenceMore Information
Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda Equina SyndromeMore Information
Cerebral PalsyMore Information
Cosmetic Dentistry Claims
Cosmetic Dentistry ClaimsMore Information
Cosmetic Surgery Claims
Cosmetic Surgery ClaimsMore Information
Essure Implant Claims
Essure Implant ClaimsMore Information
Gender Affirmation Claims
Gender Affirmation ClaimsMore Information
GP & Misdiagnosis Claims
GP & Misdiagnosis ClaimsMore Information
Hernia Mesh Claims
Hernia Mesh ClaimsMore Information
Hospital Acquired Infections
Hospital Acquired InfectionsMore Information
Inquest RepresentationMore Information
Late/Misdiagnosed Cancer Claim
Late/Misdiagnosed Cancer ClaimMore Information
Organ Transplant Surgery
Organ Transplant SurgeryMore Information
Pressure SoresMore Information
Prolapse SurgeryMore Information
Surgical ErrorsMore Information
Sepsis ClaimsMore Information
Vaginal Mesh Implant Claims
Vaginal Mesh Implant ClaimsMore Information
- Birth Injury & Pregnancy Claims
Personal Accident & Injury
Personal Accident & InjuryMore Information
Accidents in the Workplace
Accidents in the WorkplaceMore Information
Accidents in Public Places
Accidents in Public PlacesMore Information
Asbestos & Mesothelioma
Asbestos & MesotheliomaMore Information
Criminal InjuriesMore Information
Diving Claims & Accidents at Sea
Diving Claims & Accidents at SeaMore Information
Head & Brain Injury Claims
Head & Brain Injury ClaimsMore Information
Occupational DiseaseMore Information
Road Traffic Accidents
Road Traffic AccidentsMore Information
Vibration White Finger
Vibration White FingerMore Information
Compensation CalculatorMore Information
- Accidents in the Workplace
Personal DisputesMore Information
Bridge McFarland LLP has a team of highly-regarded lawyers based in Hull, Grimsby and Lincoln with formidable experience and expertise in all forms of dispute resolution including High Court and County Court litigation and all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), including mediation, expert determination, adjudication and arbitration.
Internet and Social Media Law
Internet and Social Media LawMore Information
Judicial ReviewMore Information
Judicial Review is the process by which the courts supervise public bodies to ensure that they act lawfully and fairly. Judicial reviews can be used to challenge the decisions and actions of a range of public bodies, including local authorities, government departments, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups, schools and governing bodies, magistrates, county courts, coroners, chief constables and public governors.
Personal Dispute Funding
Personal Dispute FundingMore Information
The legal process can be lengthy, with some cases taking months, or even years, to resolve. This can put a heavy financial strain on both businesses and individuals in terms of paying your own costs. The good news is that Bridge McFarland LLP can provide an integrated package of funding solutions for your costs and disbursements.
Property & Housing Disputes
Property & Housing DisputesMore Information
Professional NegligenceMore Information
Trust & Probate Disputes
Trust & Probate DisputesMore Information
- Internet and Social Media Law
Professional NegligenceMore Information
Financial Services Negligence
Financial Services NegligenceMore Information
Financial Services Negligence
Lawyer NegligenceMore Information
Property NegligenceMore Information
SIPP and Pension Claims
SIPP and Pension ClaimsMore Information
Under-settled ClaimsMore Information
- Financial Services Negligence
- Sports Law
Wills, Trusts & Probate
Wills, Trusts & ProbateMore Information
Agriculture & Rural Business
Agriculture & Rural BusinessMore Information
Agricultural LandholdingMore Information
Conservation & Environment
Conservation & EnvironmentMore Information
Criminal Justice & Public Order
Criminal Justice & Public OrderMore Information
Land UseMore Information
Taxation & Rights
Taxation & RightsMore Information
Town & Country Planning
Town & Country PlanningMore Information
- Agricultural Landholding
- Business Contracts
Commercial PropertyMore Information
Company FormationsMore Information
Debt RecoveryMore Information
Funding For Debt Recovery
Funding For Debt RecoveryMore Information
Pre-Action for Debt Recovery
Pre-Action for Debt RecoveryMore Information
Legal Proceedings for Debt Recovery
Legal Proceedings for Debt RecoveryMore Information
Enforcement for Debt Recovery
Enforcement for Debt RecoveryMore Information
- Funding For Debt Recovery
Dispute ResolutionMore Information
Construction & Engineering
Construction & EngineeringMore Information
Contract DisputesMore Information
Intellectual Property Disputes
Intellectual Property DisputesMore Information
Internet & IT Disputes
Internet & IT DisputesMore Information
Company & Partnership Disputes
Company & Partnership DisputesMore Information
Property DisputesMore Information
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute ResolutionMore Information
Funding Commercial Disputes
Funding Commercial DisputesMore Information
Professional Negligence for Business
Professional Negligence for BusinessMore Information
- Construction & Engineering
Employment LawMore Information
Mergers, Sales & Acquisitions
Mergers, Sales & AcquisitionsMore Information
Property DevelopmentMore Information
- Sports Law
Claiming Compensation for Personal Injury Caused whilst Working at Sea
Many of the types of accidents in which crewmen and other ship members can be injured, happen in similar fashion to, for example, accidents in a factory or on a construction site on dry land, such as slip and trip accidents, lifting heavy object accidents and falling from a height.
Added 07th December, 2018
Have you ever stood on the shore watching as cargo ships leave port or sail across the horizon and wondered what it must be like to work on one of those vessels? Exciting, dangerous, perhaps even glamorous if distant lands are the destination?
For those who actually take the step of pursuing a career at sea, the reasons for doing so are usually more a matter of reality. Just as for those who worked down their nearby coal mines, or in the factories of the industrial heartlands where they were born, working at sea is, for those born near the shores (and further afield too), a means of earning a living. Thoughts of a leading a glamorous or exotic life, are not factors which they take into account.
Working at sea onboard merchant ships or on fishing vessels, is a dangerous occupation. Approximately 2000 accidents each year causing death or serious injury are reported to the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). Accidents at sea, where workers are killed or seriously injured are not often headline news and they can (other than those that are catastrophic accidents) tend to go under the radar, as far as publicity is concerned.
The Most Common Types of Accidents Causing Injury to Workers that Happen whilst Working at Sea
- Slips, trips and falls
- Exposure to chemicals and gases
- Lifting heavy objects
- Crane and lifting gear accidents
- Enclosed space accidents
- Accidents as a result of collisions
- Falling objects – often caused particularly in adverse weather conditions
- Electric shocks
- Machinery explosions
- Mooring operations
- Man overboard
Examples of the type of accidents that occur on vessels at sea
A fairly recent incident reported on the MAIB website is that which involved the North Star fishing vessel on the 5th February 2018 off the coast of Cape Wrath, North Scotland. The crew had been shooting creels (fishing baskets), 16 nautical miles off the coast, when a crew member was thrown overboard after his leg became entangled in the fishing gear.
Although the crew member was recovered from the sea by his colleagues some ten minutes after entering the water, he was unconscious and despite efforts to revive him, he failed to recover consciousness.
An investigation by the MAIB into the accident found that;
- The vessels official risk controls did not reflect the operational practices onboard
- The crew underestimated the risk of a crewman becoming entangled in the back rope and being dragged overboard
- ‘Shooting’ instructions on the vessel did not follow the industry best practice to separate the crew from the back rope and have knives at hand should any mishap occur
- The owners of the vessel were new to fishing vessel ownership and had not taken a proactive approach to risk compliance
In 2017, the Ipswich Star carried a report of a crewman being killed and another seriously injured as a result of an explosion in the engine room of a containership as it was approaching the dock at Felixstowe.
On 6 June 1999 a barge hand was crushed between a tug and a dump barge, at Nab Tower Dumping Grounds, near the Isle of Wight. At the time of the accident there was a force 3 wind and a metre swell causing both vessels to roll. As the barge hand was attempting to transfer from the tug he was crushed. He died from his injuries on the way to hospital.
An accident investigation decided that;
- The boarding method adopted by the master of the tug did not properly take into consideration the high levels of risk that the bargeman was exposed to
- The tug master did not consider fully the risks inherent in a ship-to-ship transfer, and failed to ensure that the bargeman was not placed at unnecessary risk when undertaking the transfer.
- The bargeman’s employer, failed to ensure that the tug master properly evaluated the risks involved in the transfer operation, and that their employee was not placed at unnecessary risk.
Making A Claim for Compensation Personal Injury or Death as a Result of a Work Accident at Sea
Whilst we have used three tragic examples of just some of the types of accidents that take place at sea, thankfully not all involve fatalities. Many of the types of accidents in which crewmen and other ship members can be injured, happen in similar fashion to, for example, accidents in a factory or on a construction site on dry land, such as slip and trip accidents, lifting heavy object accidents and falling from a height.
If you suffer an accident whilst on board ship, as a member of a crew, you may be able to bring a claim against the owner or operator of the ship in the same way you would, had the accident happened to you at work, on land.
How you do that though, is a totally different ‘kettle of fish’! Equally, the type of personal injury lawyer that you should choose to bring a work accident at sea injury claim for you, needs to be different. Making a work accident at sea injury claim requires a specialist solicitor to act for you. At Bridge McFarland solicitors, partner Kathryn Hudson has developed expertise in bringing claims for injured seafarers over many years.
Why should I use a specialist work at sea compensation solicitor?
The answer is, that a general personal injury solicitor is not likely to have the required expertise to deal with work place claims for injury which happen onboard a ship. Work accidents at sea are potentially fraught with difficulties for the solicitor that takes your case on. For example, if you were to have an accident at work in a factory in Grimsby that is the fault of your employer, it would usually be very easy to identify against whom the claim should be made. If you work for a company called ABC Ltd with a registered office in Grimsby, then your claim is very likely to be made against ABC Ltd. If they dispute liability for your accident or the negotiations to try and settle your claim for compensation with them drag on, then your solicitors will start court proceedings against ABC Limited and they will ‘serve’ the court papers on ABC Limited by asking the court to formally send the court papers to their registered office in Grimsby.
In the case of work accidents at sea, the procedure is not that simple. If you are injured whilst working on a ship off the cost of Grimsby and you think it was not your fault then first of all your solicitor would need to identify the correct party against whom the claim should be made. Your contract of employment should identify who your employer is and where their domicile is i.e. their headquarters for legal purposes. The contract will hopefully also outline where any legal claims are to be decided upon, that is, in which country. This is known as a ‘jurisdiction’ clause.
If the contract does not contain details of ‘jurisdiction’ then your solicitor might advise that your claim should not only be made against your employer, but also as a precaution against the vessel owner, too. These are not necessarily the same people. If then, your employer, for instance was domiciled in England but the owner of the vessel was based in Sweden, then you will be able to serve (formally send) the court proceedings on the vessel owner in Sweden – sometimes by having to get permission from the court.
If neither the owner of the ship nor the employer is domiciled within England or Wales, it may not be possible to bring the claim within the jurisdiction of the English courts, even though the injured person wishing to bring the claim, lives in this country.
An experienced accident at sea claims solicitor, such as Kathryn Hudson at Bridge McFarland Solicitors, may have contacts in various other jurisdictions (including Scotland, which has a different legal system to England and Wales). In fact, Kathryn has built up an extensive network of overseas accident at sea lawyers who are able to help in such cases. Kathryn would be more than happy to help the injured person find a lawyer within the relevant jurisdiction and who would be able to take up the claim on their behalf.
There are a whole number of other potentially relevant considerations that an expert work accident at sea compensation solicitor will have to take into account, such as whether the accident occurred on a ship that was within a country’s territorial waters (within 12 nautical miles from the low water line of the country’s coast). If it did then it is possible to bring your claim within the jurisdiction of that country.
Other considerations include whether the ship is sailing under a flag of convenience which can bring added complications to making a claim and which only an experienced work accident at sea solicitor would be equipped to deal with. Likewise, the time limit for bringing a claim for a work accident at sea personal injury claim may be either 3 years (as is the case with a personal injury claim happening on land) or it may be a shorter period of two years in certain circumstances.
The circumstances of accidents at sea may, in many cases, be just like many accidents at work whilst working on land – tripping over an item that shouldn’t have been there or falling from a ladder that was faulty. Other accidents that take place on a ship maybe more specific to the nature of the workplace, such as someone being knocked overboard as a result of a work colleagues’ negligent operation of machinery.
However, as this article has pointed out, there are many considerations that a solicitor taking your claim on, has to take into account and act upon, when it comes to bringing a claim for a work accident at sea. We cannot stress how important it is to instruct a solicitor who is an expert in this area of law.
If you have been injured whilst working at sea, call Kathryn Hudson of Bridge McFarland solicitors in Grimsby. Kathryn will quickly make you feel comfortable in the knowledge that you are speaking with an expert in work accident at sea compensation claims. She can be contacted on 01472 311 711 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org