Understanding Dry Dock Accidents and Your Right to Financial Compensation

Maritime Injuries May 5, 2022

Working at a dry dock can be dangerous. While many people assume that working on the land is safer than working on the water, this isn’t necessarily the case. Dry dock accidents are common, and many dry dock workers find themselves in need of financial compensation to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Common Dry Dock Accidents

Part of the reason why dry dock accidents are so common is that there are so many different types of accidents that can occur. For example, some of the most common accidents that leave dry dock workers suffering from serious injuries include:

  • Exposure to Toxic Fumes or Vapors – Working in confined areas or in close proximity to boats, equipment, supplies, or materials that release toxic fumes or vapors presents several risks for dry dock workers. In addition to the risk of inhalation injuries, burns and hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) are very real risks as well.
  • Flooding – Flooding is a risk for drydock workers who work in graving docks. If water enters a graving dock unexpectedly, workers in the dock can find themselves facing life-or-death scenarios.
  • Forklift and Crane Accidents – Transporting materials and equipment into drydocks or onto vessels with forklifts and cranes can be a dangerous operation. This is especially true if the operator’s vision is obstructed, if the operator gets distracted, or if dry dock workers are unable to get out of the way to avoid being hit or crushed.
  • Shifting Vessels – Dry docked vessels can shift unexpectedly, and even a slight shift can be enough to pin or crush a worker. In most cases, these accidents happen because the vessel was not properly secured before workers were cleared to enter the dry dock.
  • Slips, Trips and FallsSlips, trips, and falls are common causes of injuries among dry dock workers. These accidents can result from slipping on the wet floor of a dry dock, tripping over items left in the dry dock by other workers, or falling into a dry dock from overhead.

Dry Dock Accident Injuries and Claims for Financial Compensation

These and other accidents can leave dry dock workers suffering from a broad range of injuries. Broken bones, burns, concussions, exposure injuries, loss of digits and limbs, spinal cord injuries, and soft tissue injuries are all extremely common. For most dry dock workers who suffer these (and other) injuries, recovering financial compensation starts with filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).

The LHWCA is a federal law that entitles dock workers (including dry dock workers) and others who work in land-based maritime occupations to benefits when they get injured on the job. Dry dock workers can seek LHWCA benefits on a “no-fault” basis, meaning that they do not need to prove their employers are responsible for their injuries. But, in some cases, injured dry dock workers will have fault-based claims as well; and, since LHWCA benefits do not cover all of the costs of job-related injuries, it is important that injured workers file all claims they have available.

Talk to a Lawyer About Your Dry Dock Accident for Free

If you need to know more about seeking financial compensation for a dry dock accident, we encourage you to get in touch. Call 800-468-4878 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. 

Willis Law Firm, Offshore & Maritime Lawyer
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Houston, Texas 77056

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