Maritime injury lawyer secures £55,000 for injured seaman

Fishing boat at sea

Our client was working as a seaman in Buckie, Banffshire at the time of the maritime accident. He had been a seaman for 25 years by this point, and was used to working for long periods away from home in Ghana where his wife and family lived.

On this particular vessel, he was living on board and they were about to leave the port to fish for prawns and fish.

However, he was asked to store supplies for the trip in the hold which is accessed by a hatch containing a ladder. The hatch cover was opened but there was nothing provided to secure the hatch cover in place.

As our client climbed down the ladder into the hatch, the hatch cover suddenly fell crushing his hand and causing him to fall several feet.

Employer ends seaman’s contract because of injury

Our client suffered fractures to the index, middle and ring finger of his right hand. He went to the local hospital in Inverness where he had surgery.

Whilst he was there, a colleague came to the hospital and informed him that his contract was terminated as a result of his injuries.

They gave him his belongings and a flight ticket back home to Ghana.

Unable to continue work as seaman

Although his fractures healed, our client can no longer use his hand properly as he developed a functional disorder in his hand. He finds it difficult to grip things and suffers from stiffness in his hand. He will never be able to return to work as a seaman.

He has been unable to find work since the accident and job opportunities are very limited in Africa, especially for those with a disability. His wife and five children rely on him for financial support and have endured significant financial difficulties since the accident.

“My career was sailing which involves lifting heavy wires, net and rope. Now, because of my injuries from the accident, I can’t open or close my hand normally or lift heavy things.

“This means I have lost my career.”

Digby Brown specialist maritime injury lawyer

At Digby Brown, we have personal injury lawyers that specialise in maritime injuries in Scotland and in international waters. Our maritime injury lawyer, Fern Mapp, pursued our client’s injury claim on his behalf.

Fishing vessel failed to perform risk assessment

The accident could have been prevented if there was a suitable mechanism for securing the hatch cover in place while the hatch was in use. This would have been easy and cheap to install on the fishing vessel.

However, our client’s employer had failed to consider guidance from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency or Seafish. They had not performed any risk assessments on the vessel and had not put a suitable securing mechanism in place for the hatch cover.

Employer refuses to admit fault for maritime accident

Our client’s former employer's insurers denied responsibility for the accident and refused to make an offer in settlement of his injury claim.

Upon taking the claim to court, they made an offer of £10,000. However, this was rejected as it did not correctly compensate our client for his injuries.

Employer refused to provide family with financial relief

His former employer’s insurers refused to provide our client an interim payment of compensation to give his family financial relief while the court action was ongoing.

Expert medical evidence paid by Digby Brown

Our client followed the advice of Digby Brown to continue with his injury claim against his employer and we arranged and paid for flights and other costs to allow him to travel to Scotland to be examined by medical experts including a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Consultant Neuro-Psychologist.

Our client also met with an Employment Consultant and a Master Mariner who drafted reports in support of his claim. Due to the potential value and complexity of his claim, we also instructed an Advocate to assist in the case.

Rightful compensation with specialist maritime injury lawyer

Our client’s employer eventually made an increased compensation offer of £30,000 but again this was rejected as it was still too low. However, maritime injury lawyer Fern Mapp, negotiated a settlement of £55,000 – over five times the initial offer!

“Digby Brown were excellent, they made me realise that there are great solicitors out there who are sincere and devoted to helping you.

“I am very happy with the compensation and I really appreciate how my solicitor Fern Mapp went about my case. She did her very best to make sure I came out of this case with success.

"My family and I really appreciate everything Digby Brown did for me and would like to thank you very much.

“My advice to anyone injured in a maritime accident is to get in touch with Digby Brown!”