Crane Accident Attorney for Injured Maritime Workers
Maritime workers are exposed to hazardous conditions every day. These individuals must use or work around dangerous equipment and tools, including heavy cranes and other machinery, to get the job done. Unfortunately, individuals who work on or around cranes are often involved in serious accidents. Whether the crane is used in an offshore drilling operation or to load machinery and other supplies onto a supply boat, ship or vessel at sea, severe injuries, including death, can result when workers are not properly protected. When the worst happens, it’s important to contract a crane accident attorney to help protect your rights.
Cranes are difficult and dangerous pieces of machinery that require highly skilled operators, proper maintenance and appropriate safety equipment. When a crane is used in a maritime operation, all types of accidents and injuries can occur, including:
- Crush injuries when an individual is pinned
- Loss of limbs
- Personnel basket injuries resulting from loading and off-loading workers
- Wind and high seas accidents
- Crane collapses and falls
- Rigging accidents when a load is not properly secured
- Negligent hookups
Laws Protect Your Right to Compensation
If you are a maritime worker who has been injured in an accident involving a crane or other type of heavy equipment, you may have the right to recover legal compensation for your injuries via a workers compensation claim or an injury lawsuit. The Jones Act is a federal statute that protects seamen who are injured or become ill in the course of their employment. Under the Jones Act, when a seaman is injured due to the negligent actions of an employer or co-worker, the seaman can file a legal claim against the employer to recover certain damages, including past and future medical care, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. In a Jones Act negligence suit, the burden of proof is very low – almost any unsafe condition that played a part in your injury, no matter how small, can result in your employer being held legally responsible for your injuries. Nevertheless, it’s important to have a crane accident lawyer supervise your claims to ensure you are treated fairly.
In addition to filing a negligence lawsuit, Jones Act seamen are entitled to collect maintenance and cure benefits from their employer when they are injured on the job. Employers are required to pay these benefits to an employee, regardless of who is to blame for the employee’s injury. Maintenance benefits are meant to cover your daily costs of living on land while cure benefits provide compensation to cover the costs associated with the medical care you need to treat your injury or illness.
It is important to understand that even if you are not classified as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, many other laws may provide you with the legal protection you need. For instance, if you are involved in a crane accident on an offshore drilling platform, your accident may fall under the Longshore Harbor & Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA is a federal worker’s compensation program that provides medical care and income benefits to injured longshore workers, including harbor workers, dock men, ship builders and other categories of maritime employees. Additionally, if your injuries occurred while working on the Outer Continental Shelf, you may be protected under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).
Common Types of Maritime Crane Accidents
Working on or near a crane can be especially dangerous in the maritime setting. Ships can pitch and lurch unexpectedly, and large waves can make it difficult (if not impossible) for crane operators to avoid serious accidents. With this in mind, some of the most common types of maritime crane accidents include:
Being Struck By an Operating Crane
Maritime workers who are struck by crane booms and loads can suffer serious injuries, and they also may be knocked overboard or to a lower deck. Concussions, broken bones and other serious injuries are common, and workers injured in these accidents will often face long roads to recovery.
Falling from a Crane (Overboard or Onto a Vessel or Platform)
Falls from ladders, operator cabs and other parts of cranes can also lead to serious injuries. While companies should install proper safeguarding and ensure that their employees have access to adequate safety equipment (i.e. harnesses and safety belts), many fail to do so.
Electrocution accidents involving cranes occur in two primary ways. The first involves failure to properly construct or maintain a crane, resulting in an electrical hazard. The second involves cranes coming into contact with wires and other electrical components onboard. In both scenarios, crane operators and other crewmembers can face risks for serious – or even fatal – injuries.
Accidents During Crane Assembly and Disassembly
Accidents during assembly and disassembly account for a significant portion of all crane-related injuries. Failure to conduct adequate testing after assembly is a factor in many accidents as well. Unfortunately, companies often overlook safety risks during assembly and disassembly, and in doing so they put all types of crewmembers in harm’s way.
Crane Collapses and Tip-Overs
Crane collapses and tip-overs can result from a variety of different issues onboard. Improper assembly and overloading are two of the most-common factors, but weather, sea conditions and other factors frequently play a role as well.
Inadequate Crane-Related Safety Precautions
From inadequate training and supervision to inadequate access to safety equipment, failure to follow appropriate safety precautions is a leading cause of all types of crane accidents. Companies that operate offshore have a duty to provide a safe work environment for their employees; and, when they fail to do so, they deserve to be held accountable.
You Don’t Need Proof of Negligence to File a Claim
While many crane accidents onboard ships and offshore platforms result from operator error or inadequate safety precautions (or a combination of both), you don’t need proof of negligence to file a claim for a maritime injury. The Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and state workers’ compensation statutes all provide compensation to injured workers on a “no-fault” basis.
But, if you have proof of negligence (or if your lawyer can collect proof of negligence), then you may be able to secure additional compensation for your maritime crane accident. While filing a Jones Act or workers’ compensation claim allows you to recover medical and wage-replacement benefits, filing a negligence lawsuit allows you to recover full compensation for all of your injury-related losses (including your pain and suffering).
Our Maritime Crane Accident Attorneys Will Fight for Your Legal Rights
When a maritime worker is injured in an accident, employers will often fight hard to avoid their legal responsibilities. If you have been hurt in a crane accident or involved in any other type of maritime accident, it is important to have a strong crane accident lawyer on your side. The Willis Law Firm has decades of experience helping injured employees recover the financial compensation they are legally entitled to receive under the law. You can contact us today by completing our online contact form or by calling 1-800-468-4878.