A harbor worker should never have to feel concerned that they will sustain a severe injury at work that could drastically affect their health and their ability to work. Regrettably, there are far too many cases where an employee was injured due to the negligence of an employer. Due to this, the worker may need to seek compensation from the employer by filing a lawsuit to recover damages.
Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., is pleased to offer representation to our clients that were victims in a harbor accident case. You should seek reimbursement for your accident with the aid of an experienced maritime legal team. To plan a complimentary and confidential consultation to weigh your legal options, consider contacting our law firm at (866) 386-1762. There is also the option to contact our firm through our website to book a free case evaluation.
Our attorneys fight for injured offshore gulf and harbor workers and may be able to take your case and fight to get you the compensation you need after your injuries. If you or a loved one faced injuries in the gulf or in harbor waters, contact our maritime injury lawyers today. Call our law offices today at (866) 386-1762 to set up your free consultation.
Common Injuries that Occur to Harbor Workers on the Gulf Coast
Operating as a harbor worker can be a tough and demanding job. In some circumstances, harbor workers could sustain injuries while performing the functions of their job. Here are some prevalent types of accidents that workers at a harbor may experience while performing their duties.
Slip and Falls
A slip and fall at a harbor could occur under multiple circumstances. Wet floors, oil spills, loose decks, and many other circumstances could cause a harbor worker to slip and possibly sustain a serious injury. The severity of the injury will often depend upon the way the harbor worker fell and the cause of the fall, such as a worker sustaining a broken wrist while trying to break their fall.
An employer should be aware of the dangers of uncleaned spills at a harbor and should work to make the harbor safer.
A harbor is often used to load, and unload cargo intended for retailers and other entities. When transporting these materials, harbor workers typically need to use heavy machineries such as forklifts and cranes. However, if the worker driving the forklift or crane is inexperienced or negligent, they could easily cause a serious accident. For instance, if a package falls from a forklift, the possibility of it crushing an unsuspecting harbor worker is higher than you may think. Occasionally, an employee may become injured because they were stuck between two vehicles.
Securing materials, tools, and other items are vital when working at a harbor. If a tool falls from a height, it could cause serious head injuries or may even kill the victim.
Some materials that are handled at a harbor could be highly volatile. If a flammable container is dropped or mishandled, it could easily cause a raging fire or catastrophic explosion that may injure several harbor workers. If your employer has not set precautions for dealing with flammable or explosive material, they could be held liable for your injuries.
There are some occasions where a worker may be injured due to the negligence of an employer. If you require more information about filing an injury claim after your harbor accident, make sure to contact our Gulf Coast harbor worker injury attorneys soon after your accident.
How Do You Sue for Worker Injuries from Accidents that Occur in the Gulf or Harbor?
Workers on boats, ships, barges, and tugs are often not covered by workers’ compensation systems. Each state has its own rules for workers’ comp., and many states make this system the “sole remedy” for injured workers. Under those systems, however only a portion of your lost wages are covered, medical care is only covered if you use an approved doctor, and pain and suffering damages are not paid. For most injured boat and ship workers, the Jones Act and other maritime laws allow you to sue instead, potentially increasing the damages.
When injured harbor workers and gulf workers file a lawsuit for their injuries, they usually file it against the boat owner, the boat operator, or the employer that was responsible for their injuries. These cases are often filed in federal court under U.S. maritime law, but sometimes state courts can hear these cases, too. Your lawyer will help you determine where to file, handle most of the paperwork related to your case, and arrange service of the proper documents.
How to Prove Negligence in a Harbor Worker Accident Claim
If you wish to claim damages for your harbor accident injuries, you will need to show evidence that your employer’s negligence caused your injuries. The facts of your case will indicate whether there is an extensive amount of evidence that may well be used to prove your case. For instance, if you were the victim in a slip and fall accident due to a faulty gangway, this could be used as evidence for your case.
There are four elements of negligence that must be proven before a harbor worker can recover damages for their injuries:
- The defendant had a duty of care to the victim (plaintiff)
- The defendant violated their duty of care (e.g., failed to provide safe workspace)
- The plaintiff suffered an injury or sustained other losses because of the defendant’s behavior
- The case is eligible to be litigated in the appropriate court
When you make a claim for damages in a negligence lawsuit, your lawyer will analyze the relationship between you and the at-fault party to determine the duty involved in your case. For instance, if you were injured in a boat crash and are suing the operator of the vessel, then the duty will likely be the duty to operate the vessel in a reasonably safe manner and to follow any boating rules, speed restrictions, and other safe-operation guidelines.
In some cases where you sue an employer, proving the specific duty and the breach could be difficult. An employer must have been directly involved in the breach to sue them. Otherwise, injuries that happened at work are not the employer’s fault, and you would have to sue a different party like the operator or owner of the ship.
Once these elements have been proven, the court could award you compensation for your case. The damages you are provided can vary depending on the circumstances of your case and the maritime laws that apply to your case.
It is also important to remember that harbor workers are not eligible for workers’ compensation. This means that a personal injury lawsuit could be your only option to recover damages for your injuries.
Damages for Injured Harbor Workers and Gulf Workers Hurt in Boating Accidents
Generally, an injured harbor worker could recover damages for loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses attributed to the accident.
When you sue for injuries, the court will need to see proof of the damages that you faced in order to know how much to compensate you for. The defendant employer, ship owner, or operator might try to claim that you were not actually hurt or that you are faking your injuries, and the court will need to see sufficient proof of your injuries to get you the compensation you need.
Photos of the injury and medical records are one of the best ways to prove injuries. Your testimony about what happened, as well as testimony from witnesses to the accident, will also help prove what injuries you suffered.
Proving the extent of the damages also means proving what economic effects you faced because of the injuries and accident. This can come in the form of medical bills, medical equipment costs, rehabilitation and therapy costs, and other medical expenses. You could also face economic harm if you cannot return to work.
Lost wages are some of the core damages you will claim in your case. A serious injury could keep you from being able to return to work for months during your recovery, and many permanent or long-term injuries could keep you from returning to work at all. If you need to take a different job that pays less, you could also be entitled to compensation for the difference in your old and new wages or any other reduced earning capacity.
You can also claim damages for the pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages related to the injury.
Call Our Harbor Worker and Gulf Worker Maritime Injury Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
Call our attorneys today for help with your case. Our attorneys for injured offshore gulf and harbor workers represent injury victims and their families and work to get them the compensation they need after a serious accident or workplace injury. Call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (866) 386-1762 for a free legal consultation on your case.