The presence of water is part of what makes offshore employment so dangerous. Drowning, particularly on the way to and from an offshore job site, has long been a top cause of maritime employee fatalities. However, not every instance where a worker ends up in the water proves deadly.
Many workers experience near-drownings where the quick reaction times of their co-workers or their consistent use of a personal flotation device (PFD) saves their lives. What could have led to a tragedy instead leads to injury and hospitalization. Some workers involved in near-drowning incidents may incur injuries that force them to leave their jobs indefinitely even though they survived.
Near drownings can cause brain damage
Drowning involves someone inhaling water into the respiratory system instead of air. People die due to a lack of oxygen, although they typically lose consciousness long before they actually die. Researchers believe that rapid response times and resuscitation can stave off most serious injuries in near-drowning incidents.
It is only after roughly the four-minute mark that permanent damage becomes a significant concern. When it takes between four and 10 minutes to resuscitate someone after a near-drowning incident, they are at risk of brain damage. The longer they remain underwater, the greater the possibility of brain damage related to oxygen deprivation.
That brain damage can manifest in a host of different ways, from changes in someone’s mood and personality to cognitive issues. Brain damage can also affect sensory perception and motor skills. Those diagnosed with brain injuries may not be able to work in a demanding, dangerous environment. They may struggle to perform skilled tasks or to remember the proper procedures for their work functions because of their brain injuries.
Therefore, workers who experience near-drownings may be unable to return to their work. Not only do they have to worry about covering the cost of their medical care after the near-drowning, but they must also think about their lost future wages and earning potential. The rules for compensation after a maritime incident are different than the rules when someone gets hurt on land. As such, seeking legal guidance when it becomes necessary to seek benefits is generally wise.