Shipyards are dangerous places. Individuals who work in ship repair yards are exposed to hazardous conditions every day due to the fast-pace nature of the operations and the dangerous and heavy machinery needed to complete the job. This environment is risky and serious accidents and deaths can occur when proper care and safety is not taken. Shipyard incidents can involve:
- Exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals
- Inhalation of asbestos dust and fibers from asbestos insulation products
- Slip and falls
- Electrical accidents
- Fires and explosions
- Forklift accidents
- Heavy machinery injuries
- Equipment collapses
- Ladder accidents
- Winch accidents
- Crane accidents
- Rigging accidents
These injuries are often so severe as to prevent the employee from ever returning to work. Even if the injured worker is eventually able to resume his prior job, recovery can be long and difficult with the worker losing significant wages and income in the process.
Legal Relief for Injured Shipyard Workers
If you have been injured in a shipyard incident you may be entitled to legal relief under the Longshore Harbor and Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Individuals who work in shipyard environments, including ship builders, ship repairmen, ship-breakers, and crane, forklift and winch operators, are generally covered the LHWCA. The LHWCA or Longshore Act is a federal workers’ compensation program that provides compensation and benefits to employees who are injured in workplace accidents regardless of who may be at fault for the accident. Under the LHWCA, an injured maritime worker is entitled to receive medical care and income benefits. When an employee is unable to work because of a work-related injury, the employee will receive 66 2/3% of his average weekly wage. In the event that a worker is permanently disabled, the worker may be entitled to collect partial or total disability payments for life. If a worker dies in a shipyard accident, the worker’s eligible survivors will receive death benefits.
Workers who have been injured in shipyard accidents may also have legal claims against companies other than their employers. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, the injured shipyard worker may be able to file a negligence lawsuit or product liability lawsuit against certain third party companies such as an equipment manufacturer, asbestos pipe, asbestos insulation installers and manufacturers, product supplier or maintenance and repair company.
An Admiralty Attorney Can Protect Your Rights
Unfortunately, when a worker is hurt in a shipyard accident companies often try to avoid responsibility for the incident. Your employer may try to compel you to see a company doctor so that you can return to work even if you need more time and additional medical care to recover from your injuries. It is important to understand that injured workers have many legal rights under the LHWCA and other General Maritime Laws. For instance, under the LHWCA you are entitled to choose your own doctor and you are not required to see a company physician.
If your employer is trying to restrict your access to medical care or is refusing to provide you with the compensation you need to recover from your accident, we can help. Call the Willis Law Firm today at 1-800-468-4878 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced admiralty injury lawyer.