The duties performed by dock workers, otherwise known as longshoremen, throughout the country's ports are critical not only to local regions but to the national economy as a whole. Their dutiful labor ensures our own market shelves are stocked while also turning the gears of international commerce.
Such a critical job does not come without risks to the health and safety of those who complete it. And yet, these men and women continue to put their own physical integrity on the line, day-in and day out. Fortunately, and as our maritime accident lawyers detail below, specific legal avenues exist for compensating these workers when a dock accident occurs.
Dock workers and longshoremen are responsible for loading and unloading cargo ships that come into our ports. Most folks picture a cargo ship stacked with shipping containers, but the responsibilities of dockworkers also include loading and unloading other goods such as oil, grain, and even coal.
Given the colossal volume of products that move in and out of our nation's ports, it'd be unrealistic to expect dock workers to complete their job without the help of heavy machinery. Indeed, powerful tools including cranes, forklifts, tractors, gantries all help employees get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, a dock worker may also be expected to engage in tasks that include securing cargo once it's loaded onto an outgoing ship or unshackling cargo that is to come off the boat. This part of the job, while it also tends to leverage powerful tools to get done, can be one of the most physically demanding and hazardous components.
As alluded to above, longshoremen are in a very dangerous line of work. One mistake can lead to serious injury or death. Most sobering is the fact that the mistake of one individual not only puts their own health at risk but also that of their coworkers.
The types of injuries suffered by dockworkers are about as varied as the cargo they handle each and every day. Below are some of the most common:
Aside from the above list, a dock worker may also suffer overuse" injuries that develop over years or decades of such demanding labor. While these can be different from the worker injuries resulting from an unexpected dock accident, they can still be the foundation for a compensation claim.
Most workers on the 'mainland' are protected by their state's workers' comp system if they suffer any kind of injury while on-the-job. However, in a lot of cases, ordinary worker's compensation does not apply to dock workers.
On the other hand, longshoremen are often protected by specific legislation if they are injured in a dock accident. Such legislation includes the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). Depending on the nature of the dock work, one or more of these laws may be leveraged to achieve compensation for an injured dock worker.
However, the legal claims process can be complicated and extensive. Small mistakes in filings can cause compensation amounts to be unfairly diminished if not denied outright. For this reason, it is often suggested that injured dock workers seek the representation of a legal professional.
A lawyer who handles dock accident claims will be experienced in the applicable laws. Likewise, they will have handled claims in the past and managed to achieve compensation on behalf of victims of dock accidents.
The inherent nature of the job means that dock accidents often result in gruesome injuries. These kinds of injuries require substantial medical treatment, and can even prevent the victim from returning to work permanently.
If you're seeking damages after a dock accident, you deserve to win the maximum compensation necessary to release the financial pressure you've been put under. Moreover, you deserve to be made whole for the physical and emotional pain you've suffered. By seeking a dock accident lawyer, you can be sure that an experienced law firm is handling your case and fighting for your rights.
If you were injured in a dock accident, or if a loved one lost their lives in such a tragic accident, contact our team today for a free consultation. You deserve to be informed about your legal rights and your potential for compensation. We provide this service free of cost and free of obligation, so contact us now to get started on the path to justice.