Longshore and harbor workers often operate in work environments that could be severely hazardous under many circumstances. When injured in a workplace accident, an employee would typically be able to make a workers’ compensation claim based on the laws of the state. However, the workplaces for longshore and harbor workers are typically regulated by federal law, which will result in different requirements to recover compensation for a workplace injury. If you were involved in a serious accident while working as a longshore or harbor worker in the Port of Miami, you should consult with an experienced Port of Miami longshore and harbor worker injury attorney today.
At Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., we are committed to standing up for longshore and harbor workers that were injured due to the negligence of an employer or a third party. We know that pursuing an injury claim could be a new and complicated process for an injured worker, and we are here to address your concerns. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation to discuss the details of your potential case, call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., at (866) 386-1762. You could also contact our firm online to schedule your free case review.
Common Types of Longshore and Harbor Worker Accidents at Port of Miami
Longshoremen and harbor workers engage in intense physical labor and various other exhausting tasks throughout the course of a typical workday. As a result, it is no surprise that these employees are often injured for a variety of reasons. In many cases, an injured longshoreman or harbor worker may have a valid claim against an employer after a workplace injury. The following is a list of common types of Port of Miami longshore and harbor worker accidents that could lead to a personal injury case.
Mooring Line Accidents
A mooring line is a high-strength rope or cable that is used to ensure a ship remains fastened and secure at a dock so that longshore and harbor workers can load or unload cargo from the vessel. However, if the stability of the mooring line is compromised, this could lead to a number of accidents that could injure a longshore or a harbor worker. For example, if a mooring line snaps, it could make contact with a worker and cause severe lacerations, broken bones, or other types of injuries.
Slip and Fall Accidents
It is often common for ports and docks to have slippery floors due to spills, weather conditions, and many other reasons. However, an employer should ensure that the deck of a boat and the surrounding areas are kept safe and clear so that workers could perform their duties without worry. If an employer fails to maintain their property to avoid slip and fall accidents, they could be held liable for their negligence.
Slip and fall accidents can result in a number of injuries depending upon the circumstances of the incident. For example, if a harbor worker slipped while carrying a heavy package, they could suffer bone fractures, concussions, and other severe injuries as they would likely be unable to break their fall.
Cranes are often needed by longshoremen and harbor workers to load or unload extremely heavy pieces of cargo to and from a vessel. However, if a crane malfunctions or the worker using the machinery is inexperienced, this is a serious hazard for workers in range of the crane. For example, if an item is accidentally dropped by the operator of the crane, it could easily crush and kill another harbor worker.
Hazardous Fumes and Fires
Many boats transport hazardous or flammable chemicals that could pose a danger to workers. If these chemicals are not properly managed, they could cause an accident or fire that could injure many harbor workers. For example, if a harbor worker is not provided with sufficient protective gear for enclosed places filled with hazardous chemical fumes, they could develop severe illnesses such as cancer.
There are other circumstances that could lead to a longshore or harbor worker injury. To learn more about pursuing a lawsuit after an accident at the Port of Miami, you should continue reading and work with an experienced Port of Miami longshore and harbor worker injury lawyer.
Liability for Injuries that Occur at the Port of Miami
When dock workers, managers, or others are negligent or careless, accidents and injuries could happen. As stated above, slippery surfaces can lead to slip and fall accidents for either employees or a cruise ship passenger. When security is lax or crowds are not controlled, injuries are likely to occur when a mob of people is fighting to board or disembark a ship. There are also inherently dangerous areas in the Port of Miami. If a security gate is left unattended or is not adequately secured, someone could accidentally wander into a hazardous section of the port.
Where the accident occurred, who was negligent, and exactly how it happened will all influence your personal injury case. For example, if you suffered your injury aboard a cruise ship docked at the port, the cruise line could be held accountable. However, if you were hurt while disembarking using the port’s property, then the Port of Miami could be held responsible. The Port of Miami is a large facility, and who should be held liable is not always readily apparent.
Personal Injury Claims for Longshore and Harbor Worker Injuries at Port of Miami
Longshore and harbor workers that are injured at the workplace will likely have to pursue a workers’ compensation claim through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Under the LHWCA, private companies that operate on the navigable seas of the United States and that employ full- or part-time workers will have to provide those employees with workers’ compensation benefits.
The LHWCA provides injured harbor workers and other maritime workers with the benefits for disability or death of an employee working upon a pier or on the navigable waters of the United States. If a worker is severely injured, they could receive temporary or even permanent disability benefits. When a harbor worker is killed on the job, the surviving family of the worker could receive these benefits on their behalf.
If you were injured while working at the Port of Miami, you should inform your employer as soon as possible so that you can claim your LHWCA benefits, which provides disability, medical, and other benefits. If you are concerned about how to claim your LHWCA benefits or your employer is attempting to fight back against your injury claim, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney that can help you manage your case. Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., is here to help you through this difficult time.
Rejection of LHWCA Claim
It is important to note that not every claim under the LHWCA will be presumed valid by an employer. In fact, some employers may fight back against an LHWCA claim for benefits if they believe that the employee was at fault for the accident. For example, if an employer discovers that a harbor worker was injured solely due to the consumption of alcohol while working, this could invalidate an LHWCA claim.
Liability for Harbor Accident
A harbor worker should also be aware that their employer is not the only party that may be responsible for their injuries. In some cases, a third party may be liable for the victim’s accident. If the operator or another party in control of the vessel is responsible for an injury to a harbor worker, the worker may pursue them with a personal injury lawsuit. Note, however, that an LHWCA claim with an employer will not invalidate a harbor worker’s claim against another worker.
If you wish to learn more about how to recover damages for your harbor injury case, you should continue reading and speak with our firm as soon as possible.
Damages Available for Injured Longshore Workers in Miami
If a harbor worker was injured on the job, they could recover damages for their injuries from the party responsible for the accident. As mentioned, an employer could provide a harbor worker with benefits from the LHWCA program. However, if an employer believes they were not responsible for the accident, they will want to avoid awarding the harbor worker with benefits. As a result, an injured worker may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
Whether the harbor worker is filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer or a third party that caused the accident, the harbor worker must demonstrate how each party’s actions led to their injury. Hypothetically, if an employer at a harbor failed to handle an oil spill at the harbor that caused a fall accident, the plaintiff should provide evidence to support this claim.
Four elements to negligence must be proved by an injured harbor worker to claim damages in their suit:
- The employer owed a responsibility to the worker
- The employer failed to uphold this duty to the worker
- The worker had one or more injuries as a result of the employer’s activities
- The plaintiff could file for compensation for damages through the courts
If you are concerned about whether you should apply for workers’ comp benefits under the LHCWA or seek a cause of action for your injuries, our firm could help you explore your legal options. We would be pleased to support you in your fight for the damages you deserve to put your life back together.
Our Experienced Port of Miami Longshore and Harbor Worker Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you or a family member was injured while working at the Port of Miami, you should contact our experienced Port of Miami longshore and harbor worker injury lawyer today. We know how a serious injury can impact many areas of your life, and we are here for you in your time of need. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential case, contact Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., at (866) 386-1762. You may also contact us online.