Shipyard workers are employed in ports, harbors, and other protected waters to perform shipbuilding, vessel maintenance, ship repair, and shipbreaking. OSHA has repeatedly recognized the dangers associated with working in a shipyard, where the accident rate is typically twice as high as the general workplace average. For shipyard workers, accident safety is an ever-present concern.
Shipyard employees are often of the amphibious nature subject to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This federal law allows injured longshoremen and shipyard workers to receive medical bill payments and help with overhead expenses while they heal from a workplace injury. The trade-off is that longshore usually can’t also sue their employer for damages. A skilled maritime lawyer can help you look for exceptions to that rule. There may also be third parties that caused or contributed to your injury. The LHWCA likely does not prohibit negligence claims against those entities. That’s why injured shipyard workers should speak with maritime legal counsel in addition to LHWCA counsel before the Department of Labor.
Not every injury suffered in a shipyard is compensable under maritime law. In fact, many are not. However, this is your injury, and it changed your life—you should likely turn over every stone in search potential compensation. Experienced maritime attorneys can hear about your case and help you identify potentially relevant third-party defendants like vessel owners and independent contractors.
Shipyard injury claims can be complex, even for the best maritime attorneys. There are overlapping statutes and common law remedies. There are also many types of workers laboring both on and off of ships. What recourse the injured claimant is entitled to may be so unclear that it should be determined before a judge or jury. The bottom line is that all maritime workers should be protected from danger and compensated when they are injured. Hiring a maritime lawyer is the first step to making sure that your interests are protected.
Mariner Law, PLLC serves maritime injury victims all over the country, but the firm is proud to be licensed in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, New York, and Connecticut.
If you are injured on the job in a shipyard, the first step is always to seek appropriate medical attention as soon as possible. Another highly important early step in the claims process is reporting your injury to your supervisor. It is best to do so as quickly as you can without sacrificing your immediate health needs.
It is also prudent to ask for copies of any paperwork you see about the incident. If you are asked to fill out an accident report, be sincere, honest, and brief. Do not downplay your injuries. And don’t be afraid to directly state what negligence resulted in your injury. This includes referencing any rules that were violated, equipment that malfunctioned, co-workers that exercised poor judgment, and other entities that may have been involved. If you can, get some photos of the place you were injured and any equipment that may have been involved in the accident.
Shipyard employees can be exposed to all kinds of risks. Just to name a few:
Falling into the water
Slips and falls
Tools and cargo dropping unexpectedly
Falling from a height
These and other unsafe conditions on the job in a shipyard can result in severe injuries. Common examples include:
Head and neck injury
Back and spine injury
Rips, tears, sprains, and strains
Traumatic brain injuries
All too often, dangerous working conditions at a shipyard can result in the death of a maritime employee. These outcomes were almost always avoidable with the use of proper care. You may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure.
If you were injured on the job, your world may be upside down right now. Hopefully your employer is paying for your medical expenses and sending some checks to help with the bills. The best way to know if you are entitled to more compensation and benefits than what you are currently receiving is to contact a seasoned maritime lawyer. That’s where Mariner Law, PLLC comes in. A firm Jones Act lawyer can talk to you about the fact of your case and use knowledge of maritime personal injury law to help you understand what other options may be available.
Mariner Law, PLLC is licensed in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, New York, and Connecticut, but can be a good place to start no matter where you are. Maritime Lawyer Adam Deitz is pleased to assist shipyard injury victims with a free consultation call. Reach out today: (253) 600-2531.