Commercial Dive Injuries
A number of industries have the need for commercial divers. Commercial divers are specially trained to complete construction work and other tasks while deep below the surface of the water. Most commonly, divers are needed for oil rigs, as well as for other important underwater work. Commercial diving is a dangerous occupation. Even when a diver is properly trained and experienced, accidents can happen. When an accident occurs, injuries may be severe.
Types of Commercial Dive Injuries
There are many types of injuries that can occur while diving. Accidents that occur while the diver is in the water often cause serious or fatal injuries. Some of the most common commercial dive injuries include:
- Decompression Sickness: Decompression sickness, DCS, occurs when divers ascend too quickly to the surface. The body needs time to absorb the extra nitrogen that has accumulated while diving. When resurfacing occurs too quickly, such as in an emergency, the diver will suffer serious injuries which can include vertigo, body aches, vomiting, and weakness.
- Hypoxia: Hypoxia is the deprivation of oxygen to the body. When the body does not get enough oxygen, serious injuries will result. The victim will quickly lapse into unconsciousness and could suffer seizures and coma. Hypoxia happens when the mixture of oxygen and other gases that are supplied to the diver do not contain a high enough concentration of oxygen.
- Drowning or Near-Drowning: Drowning or near-drowning happens when the diver runs out of air underwater. If the diver is unable to obtain backup oxygen, he could drown. Drowning happens most often when a catastrophic event occurs underwater or when the diver’s equipment malfunctions.
- Gas Embolisms: Divers are continually taking in an amount of nitrogen along with oxygen while breathing underwater. The nitrogen enters the body and can form small bubbles. Under normal conditions, the nitrogen is absorbed back into the body. However, the bubble may become lodged in an organ and could burst with an ascent that is too fast. This gas embolism can cause brain damage or other severe injuries.
- Round Window Rupture: The round window is a membrane located inside the ear. When water becomes trapped inside the ear during a dive, it can cause the round window to rupture due to changes in pressurization. When the rupture occurs, it is extremely painful and causes nausea and dizziness. The victim may be unable to continue diving.
Legal Help after a Commercial Dive Injury
These and other injuries can occur to commercial divers. When a serious injury occurs, it may be caused by the negligence of the company. The Jones Act allows victims of maritime accidents to seek legal recourse in the event of a negligent accident. It is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible after the accident.
An experienced commercial dive injury attorney will gather the evidence necessary to file a claim. Many of these claims can be resolved through a negotiated settlement. The victim or his family may be owed compensation for damages due to the injury. Damages include money for medical care, lost wages, pain, and suffering, among others. Contact a lawyer to discuss the case and protect your rights.