A crewman was airlifted from the F/V Defender today after suffering a head injury while working aboard the vessel. The Defender is a 154-factory trawler. Early reports indicate the crewman was struck in the head by a 37-pound block of frozen fish. More information about the facts causing the injury are unknown at this time. However, blocks of frozen fish are standard aboard many Alaska factory trawlers. After processing the fish are placed into pans, which are frozen into blocks by the vessel’s plate freezers. The frozen blocks are then placed into bags or boxes and stored in the vessel freezer hold. Crewmen are frequently injured during this process. It is important that all equipment and safety procedures are followed to prevent crewman injury when they are handling frozen cargo.
The accident happened 260 miles north of Cold Bay. A Coast Guard flight surgeon directed the emergency evacuation of the injured crewman. A Coast Guard helicopter stationed at Cold Bay airlifted the crewman to St. Paul where he was transported to Anchorage for further emergency medical treatment.
Serious head injuries must be promptly treated by emergency medical personnel. Following discharge from the hospital crewman suffering head injuries must be closely watched for signs of post concussive syndrome. Head injuries involving blows to the head can cause mild traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms of brain injury can include memory loss, headaches, personality changes, and depression.
Under Federal maritime law an employer is obligated to pay an injured seaman’s medical bills. Where the crewman is injured through negligence or unseaworthiness the crewman is entitled to fair compensation for his injuries including pain and suffering, lost wages, and lost wage earning capacity.
The maritime injury lawyers at Johnson Beard & Trueb have been helping injured fishermen get fair compensation for their injuries for over 30 years. They have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for their clients located throughout the United States. Johnson Beard & Trueb PC offices are located in Anchorage and Seattle. If you have questions about your rights to benefits under Federal Maritime law and the Jones Act call 1-800-621-1091 to discuss your claim with an experienced maritime injury lawyer.