When a maritime worker goes offshore for a job, the time he or she spends offshore is referred to as a "hitch." This term is used to refer to an offshore worker's period of service; for example, it could be said that a worker is going on a nine-week hitch offshore. In the military, it might be said that a seaman has a three-year hitch in the Navy.
A hitch (or offshore work schedule) is extremely relevant to a maritime injury case for several reasons:
One, proving the dates an employee was working offshore is a crucial link in the liability chain, meaning that a worker's set hitch, if documented, will show he or she was on the vessel at the time of the incident at issue.
Two, the hitch and rate of pay will provide the foundation for a determination of the rate of pay for an injured offshore worker's maintenance and cure.
Third, if an employer has an employee work more hours than is legally allowed, a calculation of the hours worked during their set hitch can also be an important factor in a lawsuit.
A hitch is also important for personal reasons. Online scheduling tools, including apps, exist so workers can keep track of anniversaries, birthdays, and other important dates so they can plan their offshore work schedule.
During a hitch, an offshore worker will be asked to leave home for weeks or even months at a time. Unlike workers in other jobs where the work is spread out more evenly (ex: eight hours per day), maritime workers perform an enormous amount of work within a condensed period of time. This can put an enormous amount of strain on workers—leaving them fatigued, sore, and overworked, which can lead to injuries and accidents.
If you have been injured while working a hitch offshore, please call Arnold & Itkin today!
Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Because maritime law is so complex and so complicated, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how it works and who has proven themselves in similar cases before.