Shipyard Accidents

Man cleaning ship

Let a Shipyard Accident Attorney Help You File a Claim

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. Don’t try to understand the law yourself; let a shipyard accident attorney you help you pursue a claim.

Hazardous Conditions for Shipyard Workers

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.

Accidents Involving Ship Construction, Maintenance and Repair

Many of the accidents that occur in shipyards involve the construction, maintenance, repair and salvage of seagoing vessels. While working on ships, barges and other vessels can be a dangerous occupation, employers should take precautions to protect their workers. Unfortunately, many do not, and many workers suffer serious injuries as a result. If you have been injured on the job, you will want to speak with a shipyard accident lawyer about your right to financial compensation.

Common Shipyard Accidents

Most accidents in shipyards involve the work being done on vessels. This includes work to build, maintain and repair seagoing vessels, as well as work to disassemble vessels that are being decommissioned or retired. Even when workers are highly skilled and taking the steps necessary to keep themselves safe, accidents still can – and do – occur. Some of the most common causes of these accidents include:

  • Coworkers’ Mistakes – From improperly using tools and heavy machinery to engaging in horseplay, coworkers’ mistakes are often to blame for job-related injuries.
  • Exposure to Hazardous Materials – Exposure to fuels, fumes, particulates and other hazardous materials can cause various types of injuries and illnesses.
  • Heat, Fires and Explosions – Exposure to extreme heat (i.e., during welding), fire and explosions can cause severe burns in addition to other painful and debilitating injuries.
  • Mechanical Failures – Mechanical failures can cause sudden and unexpected tool and equipment malfunctions that can lead to serious and fatal accidents.
  • Slips, Trips and Falls – In shipyards, slips, trips and falls present risks for concussions, near-drowning accidents, and other serious accidents and injuries.

But, even if you made a mistake that led to your injury, you may still be eligible to receive benefits under the LHWCA or your state’s workers’ compensation law. These benefits are available on a “no-fault” basis. This means that a shipyard accident attorney can help you file a successful claim even if you are to blame for your own injury.

Common Shipyard Injuries

Accidents in shipyards can lead to all types of traumatic injuries. In many cases, workers will need immediate medical attention to prevent the risk of further complications. Companies should assist workers with obtaining the medical treatment they need; and, if you have not seen a doctor, you should do so as soon as possible.

Some common examples of injuries that workers suffer in shipyards include:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Burns
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Crushing injuries
  • Hypothermia
  • Hypoxia (oxygen deprivation)
  • Inhalation and exposure injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Overexertion injuries
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Sprains, strains and tears

If you’ve been injured working in a shipyard, you should promptly speak with a shipyard accident lawyer. The steps you need to take depend on the claim (or claims) you are eligible to file, and mistakes could jeopardize your recovery. We offer free consultations and do not charge any fees or costs unless we win. This means that it costs nothing out-of-pocket to get the help you need to recover the compensation you deserve. 

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.

A Shipyard Injury Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights

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  or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced admiralty injury lawyer.

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