Anyone familiar with the maritime industry knows the engine room is a dangerous place. If something goes wrong in the engine room, it has the potential to affect the entire ship. The injuries sustained in an engine room accident can range from minor burses from a slip to severe burns from an explosion.

There are many different causes of engine room accidents, with almost all of them relating to human error. It’s advised you contact a maritime attorney if you or someone you know has been injured in an engine room accident.

Engine Room Accident Admiralty Attorney in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

BOATLAW, LLP has earned an outstanding reputation in maritime law throughout Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.  We take pride in our thorough and proactive approach in every case we take along the West Coast.

Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation with BOATLAW, LLP.

Information Center

Back to Top

Common Causes of Engine Room Accidents

Engine rooms are home to an array of heavy machinery and high-pressure systems working together to move a vessel. Even when all the necessary safety precautions are taken, accidents are bound to happen. Many engine room accidents are not only dangerous to the ship but the lives of those aboard.

Listed below are examples of engine room accidents:

  • Crankcase explosions: An exploding crankcase is one of the most dangerous types of engine room accidents. An engine’s crankcase churns small particles of oil. If these particles come in contact with a “hot spot” it can result in a major explosion that can damage the engine and those onboard.
  • Compressor explosions: Engine rooms are home to highly pressurized equipment. Compressor explosions usually occur during maintenance when the discharge valve is closed. If the valve remains closed once the compressor is started up again, it can be become over-pressurized and explode.
  • High-pressure steam leaks: Cracks or busted steam lines cause high-pressure steam leaks. These leaks are extremely hot and cause severe burns and sometimes death.
  • Electrical shocks: The cables and equipment in engine rooms carry high voltage power. Electrical shock accidents typically occur during maintenance when the system is not properly isolated. Also, starting electrical equipment during maintenance has been linked to maritime deaths in the past. 

There are other less catastrophic causes of engine room accidents. More typically examples include leaks and spills, defective equipment, toxic chemical leaks and poorly trained crewmembers.

Back to Top

Types of Engine Room Injuries   

Due to the environment of an engine room, the injuries sustained in an accident are often catastrophic. Examples of injuries from engine room accidents include:

  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of vision
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Severed limbs
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Wrongful death

You might be eligible for compensation if you were injured in an engine room accident. Contact a maritime lawyer to explore your options.

Back to Top

Compensation for Engine Room Accidents

You have a legal right to compensation as an injured maritime worker. The Jones Act is a federal statute protecting seamen who suffered injuries during the scope of their work. The act grants you the right to recover damages for a personal injury or wrongful death caused by an employer, vessel owner, captain or crewmember.

The Jones Act is an employee-friendly law that only requires you to prove negligence played some role in your injuries. This is a low burden of proof compared to other negligent claims where it’s required you prove negligence was the primary cause.

As an injured seaman, you are entitled to maintenance and cure regardless of who was at fault for your injuries. Maintenance covers everyday living expenses while cure covers the medical cost needed for a full recovery.  It’s not unheard of for an employer to skimp on maintenance and cure payments or not make them altogether. Contact a maritime lawyer if this is the case for you.

The Jones Act has a three-year statute of limitation. This means you have three years from the date of injury to file a claim. You will lose your right to compensation and hold your employer accountable if you fail to file within this time frame.

Keep in mind only accidents that take place on certain vessels are eligible for compensation under the Jones Act. The definition of a vessel under the act has been expanded to include just about every vessel capable of navigating at sea such as commercial fishing boats, tugboats and barges, offshore drilling rigs and platforms, cruise ships and more.

Back to Top

Additional Resources for Engine Room Accidents
The Jones Act – Follow the link provided to read through the Jones Act. The majority of the act deals with maritime commerce. If you jump to section 33 you can learn more about the right to compensation under the act.

Engine Room Safety | Safety4Sea – Visit to gain access to engine room safety tips. You can learn about what should be done in situations such as engine failure, engine fire and safety steps when working in an engine room.

Back to Top

Engine Room Accident Admiralty Lawyer in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

Engine rooms may be known for their dangerous working conditions, but accidents should never be accepted, especially if it’s the result of someone else’s negligence. Contact BOATLAW, LLP if you or someone you love has been injured in an engine room accident. Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation.

We represent injured maritime workers in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

Back to Top