commercial fishing ship

Is Carpal Tunnel Considered a Maritime Injury?

Commercial fishing is a dangerous profession. Choppy waters, inclement weather, and long hours are just a few of the hazards that commercial fishermen must deal with while on the job. And although it is common knowledge that maritime industry workers are prone to injuries, what many people don’t know is that carpal tunnel is one of the most common medical problems suffered by commercial fishermen. 

About Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is also called a median nerve compression, is a result of constant pressure on the median nerve. Carpal tunnel can result in weakness, numbness, and pain in the hand, wrist, and fingers. Severe cases of carpal tunnel can lead to loss of function in the hand and wrist.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel 

If left undiagnosed or untreated, carpal tunnel can lead to permanent disability. However, symptoms often occur early enough to allow sufferers of the syndrome to seek medical treatment and avoid permanent effects. Symptoms of carpal tunnel include: 

  • Burning, numbness, and tingling of the fingers;
  • Shooting pain in the arm, forearm, wrist, or elbow; 
  • Shoulder pain; and
  • Armpit pain.

Commercial Fishermen and Carpal Tunnel 

Commercial fishing requires repetitive movements that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. These types of movements, such as throwing nets, can cause severe damage to the hands, wrists, and fingers when repeated often enough. Untreated or undiagnosed carpal tunnel can be extremely dangerous for commercial fishermen, as they rely on the strength in their hands to stay safe on the ship. A fisherman who cannot grip properly runs the risk of falling overboard. Therefore, it’s imperative that fishermen seek treatment for carpal tunnel as soon as symptoms are present. 

Compensation for Carpal Tunnel 

Carpal tunnel, like many other maritime injuries, is covered under the Jones Act. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a law that allows commercial fishermen and other maritime workers to sue negligent employers for their injuries. When a fisherman files a claim pursuant to the Jones Act, he or she may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bill coverage, surgery, therapy, and compensation for pain and suffering. However, maritime law is complicated, and it can be extremely difficult to attempt to navigate the legal system alone. Therefore, any fisherman injured at sea should contact an experienced maritime attorney for assistance. 

Contact a Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana Maritime Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a maritime injury, you need a talented group of Lousiana and Gulf of Mexico admiralty and maritime lawyers on your side. At Koch & Schmidt, our experienced maritime attorneys serve clients in Southern Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Coast region. If you are an injured maritime worker, we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Please contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.