Lumbar Fusion Surgeries in Jones Act Cases
Lower back pain is a common complaint by seamen working on commercial fishing and shipping vessels. In most cases, your physician will treat the symptoms with rest, medications, spinal injections, or physical therapy. However, more severe lower back injuries may require lumbar fusion surgery.
During lumbar fusion surgery, a bone graft is placed between two or more vertebrae in the lower back, fusing them together. The procedure is designed to decrease your pain by stopping the motion at the damaged vertebral segment, thereby reducing pressure on the nerves. Because only a small part of the spine in targeted, there is not a significant decrease in the patient’s range of motion following the surgery.
Medical conditions that may require lumbar fusion surgery include lumbar degenerative disc disease, lumbar spondylolisthesis, fractures, herniated discs, and scoliosis. These injuries may occur from one-time-accidents like slipping on a greased deck or being crushed by equipment. They may also arise from overuse and the repeated bending, lifting, pulling, and throwing required when you work as a commercial fisherman or shipper.
You may be able to recover compensation from your employer under the Jones Act if you are a seaman who suffered from severe back pain and had lumbar fusion surgery. The Jones Act is a federal statute passed in 1920 that allows seamen who were injured while working in the service of a vessel to sue their employers for negligence-based compensation. The ability to sue your employer for work injuries is not allowed in almost all other industries, which limit injured employees to workers’ compensation. Congress gave seamen this right because they recognized the unique dangers of commercial fishing and shipping.
Under the Jones Act, if you work on a vessel, your employer is responsible for providing a safe workplace, including proper training and functioning equipment. If your employer fails to do this, they have acted negligently. If their failure to provide a safe workplace caused your injury, you might have a claim under the Jones Act. Examples of negligence include providing poorly maintained equipment and a failure to follow proper safety procedures. An experienced maritime attorney will complete a full investigation of the facts to determine if your employer was negligent.
There are significant economic and non-economic damages available under the Jones Act, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. Several factors will determine the value of your claim, including how much money you previously earned, how much you will be able to earn after your injury, and your medical costs. Working with a knowledgeable maritime attorney will ensure that you receive the highest compensation possible.
Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen who have had lumbar fusion surgery against vessel owners, maritime employers, and maritime insurance companies. If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident, contact the attorneys at Kraft Davies today at 206.624.8844 or through this website.