Marine Terminal Injuries and Accidents
Marine terminals are busy and chaotic places. Maritime workers must follow strict schedules when loading and unloading goods and cargo and passengers from ships and other vessels. When proper care is not taken or the right equipment is unavailable, serious accidents can occur in the loading and offloading process. Heavy cargo can fall and equipment can turn over when cranes, yard hustlers, forklifts and other pieces of machinery are loaded incorrectly or errors in operation occur. Slips and falls are also regular occurrences due to spills, debris, and improperly maintained loading areas and platforms.
The injuries associated with marine terminal accidents can be painful and severe. Often an injured marine employee must be off from work for an extended period of time and in many cases the injuries are critical enough to prevent the employee from ever returning to his or her job.
Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act
When a maritime worker is injured in a marine terminal incident, a number of different laws may provide legal rights and remedies to the worker. Most often, the injured worker will be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA or Longshore Act was enacted in 1927 in order to extend medical benefits and compensation to certain maritime workers who do not fall under the Jones Act.
The LHWCA program is a federal worker’s compensation program covering longshoremen, terminal workers, harbor workers, forklift operators, ship builders, ship repairers and other individuals who work on, near, or adjacent to U.S. navigable waters. When these categories of maritime workers are injured on the job they are entitled to receive medical care and income benefits. If the longshore or marine terminal worker is killed in a workplace accident, the eligible survivors of the deceased employee will be entitled to collect death benefits.
It is important to know that if you are covered under the LHWCA you are entitled to select your own physician to treat your injuries. Often employers will try to force an injured employee to see a company doctor so that the employee can return to work even if the employee is still injured and needs more time to recover. If your employer is telling you that you must see the company’s doctor, you should speak with an experienced marine injury lawyer who can help you get the medical treatment and support you need to properly recover from your injuries.
Consult an Experienced Marine Lawyer Before You Take Any Action
If you or a loved one is injured in a marine terminal accident or any other type of maritime incident you should consult with an attorney as quickly as possible. Your employer may try to convince you that you are required to immediately provide a written or sworn statement about your accident. You are under no legal obligation to do so and you should never give any statements to your company until you have spoken with your lawyer. Attorney David Willis is an experienced marine injury attorney who can help you take the proper steps to protect your legal rights. His firm offers free confidential consultations to injured maritime workers nationwide. Contact the Willis Law Firm today by calling 1-800-468-4878.