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Accidents at sea are not as common as car accidents, which happen everyday. However, due to being at sea, maritime accidents can cause greater injuries or even death. According to the Insurance Information Institute, marine accidents killed 1,163 people and caused $197 million in insured losses in 2017. Despite the advancement of modern technology, accidents occur. Below are some of common causes of accidents at sea. 

Equipment Failure

For many years, ships have been designed to withstand the harshness of the sea. The mechanical design can lead a ship to be in operation for years. In fact, a well maintained cargo ship has a life expectancy of 25 years. In spite of this, some ships experience equipment failure due to:

  • Lack of equipment maintenance

  • Inadequate oversee to identify maintenance issues

  • Failure to produce replacement parts 

  • Uneducated workers to properly identify equipment issues

  • Defective parts and/or equipment

  • Undermanned ships 

Weather Conditions

The weather can chance quickly and drastically at sea. Advancement of radar and GPS navigation systems have made tracking and tracing weather changes more predictable. In spite of these advancements, weather patterns can develop and cause damage to the ship. For instance, common weather patterns can include:

  • Fog 

  • Rain

  • Tsunamis

  • Hurricanes 

  • Watersprouts

Collisions at Sea

Even with modern GPS advancement and advanced radios, collisions at sea still happen. When ships collide at sea it can be a drastic event. For example, collisions affect seamen on the ship, consumers if they were carrying cargo, and workers who depend on ships for work. Collisions mostly stem from poor lookout on navigation systems and equipment failure. 

Human Error and Maritime Accidents

Human Error

Human error is the most common cause of maritime accidents. According to the Maritime Journal, 75%-96% of maritime accidents are caused by human error. Human error can attribute to collisions, fires, tanker accidents, and ships lost at sea. For example, human error can occur due to:

  • Lack of training

  • Poor conditions of ship workers

  • Overworked ship workers

  • Lack of overhead

  • Extended time at sea

  • Inattentive ship workers

Human errors can cause deadly collisions. One example is illustrated by the collision between the MV Doña Pena and the MT Vector. As a result of human error, the collision was the deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history and took the lives of 4,386 people.

Injuries Caused by Maritime Accidents

The responsible entity may be guilty of negligence if you were injured in a maritime accidents. Maritime accident injuries can be very different from accidents caused by car accidents. Therefore, when accidents at sea occur, the common injuries inflicted are:

  • Broken bones

  • Concussion

  • First degree to third degree burns

  • Electrocution

  • Loss of limbs

  • Paralysis

  • Spinal Injuries

  • Brain Injuries (including Traumatic Brain Injury)

  • Death

Tran Law Group Can Help

Maritime accidents can affect victims physically and/or financially. Under the Jones Act, affected workers can sue their employer for injuries sustained at sea. In fact, the most important part about your claim is the law firm representing you. An experienced attorney can help get the maximum compensation your case is worth.


We at Tran Law Group are dedicated to making sure that you receive excellent representation. We help get compensation for you medical bills and loss wages. Let our experienced Houston Maritime Accident Lawyers help you get the the compensation you deserve. Call our office at 713-789-5200 for a free, no obligation consultation of your case. Let us be your legal team.