Ports and harbors are a complex network of terminals and shipping channels. With the flood of ingoing and outgoing vessels, dock workers are key to keeping harbor operations running smoothly. Dockers wear many different hats, including repairing piers and nets, cargo loading, and assisting in mooring operations—and if safety precautions are not followed, these workers can suffer serious or fatal injuries when something goes wrong on the job.
Common Injuries Suffered by Dock Workers
Dock workers, longshoreman, and stevedores are exposed to substantial risk in the course of their jobs. Some accidents may prevent an employee from working for months, while others may have tragic, life-changing consequences. If your maritime injury was caused by an employer’s failure to provide a safe working environment, you may be owed considerable compensation for your losses.
Dock workers may be injured as a result of:
- Loading and unloading. Lifting and transporting goods in docks have been identified as the major causes of dockside injuries. Even if workers do not break a bone or suffer head injuries from falling cargo, they may suffer back, knee, and wrist injuries as a result of repetitive strain.
- Slips and falls. Uneven terrain is a constant peril in this line of employment. From minor trips over a piece of rotted wood to slips on wet decks or rocky shores, dock workers may suffer mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries. If the accident results in a fall overboard, workers may suffer hypothermia or drowning if the incident is unwitnessed.
- Toxic exposure. Dock and harbor workers handle a wide variety of goods, with each type of cargo carrying particular dangers. Unloading hazardous chemicals or being trapped in poorly-ventilated containers or ship holds can result in asphyxia, brain damage, or even death.
- Compression. The sudden drop of a cargo container can result in amputated or crushed limbs, arm and leg entrapment, or spinal cord damage that causes paralysis.
- Fires and explosions. If flammable or combustible materials are not adequately contained, dock and harbor workers may suffer severe burns, disfiguring scars, or PTSD from the ensuing fire or explosion.
Let Our Attorneys Advise You After a Maritime Injury
Maritime accidents cause injuries unlike any other industry. The combination of heavy equipment, hard working conditions, and open water can result in high medical costs and a long, difficult recovery. While dock worker accidents are common, they are also covered by a variety of benefit programs and compensation options that can provide relief from the physical and financial strain you are under.
Our experienced maritime injury lawyers can determine if your dockside injury is covered by:
- The Jones Act. If the majority of your work takes place on shore and in port, you may not qualify for compensation under the Jones Act. However, some dock workers can file a Jones Act claim depending on how much time the employee typically spends at sea and where the injury took place. If you work both on land and at sea, you could be owed maintenance and cure payments until your injuries heal.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA provides benefits to both employees injured at sea or while working dockside in vessel-related activities. In order to receive compensation under LHWCA, dock workers must qualify under the status test (the portion of the worker’s regular job duties that involve maritime work, and the situs test (whether the injury occurred on, near, or over the water).
- A third party. Dock work involves interactions with many different parties, including vessel crews, harbor pilots, public works, construction teams, and members of the public. If your injury was caused by a negligent third-party, we can investigate on your behalf and negotiate a settlement that will allow you to put the accident behind you.
Contact Top NYC Maritime Attorneys Today
If you have been involved in a maritime accident, we stand ready and willing to fight on your behalf. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.