Longshore work is demanding, difficult and can be very dangerous. The workday often starts at daybreak and doesn’t end until late in the evening. Long hours, heavy cargo and hazardous conditions can make it a deadly job, too. If you’re a longshore or other harbor worker, you have likely suffered or seen serious injuries while working.
If you or a loved one have been injured or even killed working as a longshoreman or other maritime worker
, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
, as well as other maritime laws, might make you eligible to receive compensation for the damages caused by your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages and even benefits for dependents.
I. Longshoreman Work: An Overview
Longshoremen and other dock workers work in ports and harbors in all kinds of weather, outdoors and near the water, loading and unloading ship cargo. While longshoremen may transfer smaller cargos themselves, bigger cargos, including containers, require the use of forklifts, cranes, tractors, top picks, side picks, utility tractor rigs, etc.
II. Most Common Longshoreman Injuries and Accidents
Injuries are all too common in this line of work, and a lot of the time they could have been prevented. Head injuries, back injuries, crushed bones, torn ligaments, and fractures are some of the most typical workplace injuries for longshoremen and other dock workers. But accidents in this line of work can also be fatal.
Understanding what these types of injuries look like and how the law views them is critical to making sure you get the compensation you deserve for your longshoreman or other maritime-related injuries
Back, Spinal, and Lifting Longshore Workers Comp Injuries
Lifting an object that is too heavy is one of the most common ways longshoremen injure their back, or tear a ligament. Other typical accident scenarios that involve spinal cord injuries or torn ligaments for longshoremen and other dockworkers, including stevedores, are:
- Falling from a height
- Falling objects
- Lifting an object that’s too heavy
It’s not unheard of for a crane to swing and smash into an unsuspecting dockworker’s head, causing a serious brain injury. Longshoremen and other dock workers are also at risk for being struck by a forklift or other large vehicle or falling on their head from a height. All of these accidents can cause life altering, or terminal, injuries.
Fractures, Crushed Limbs and Amputations
While compared to a traumatic brain injury, amputation, or a spinal cord injury, a bone fracture may sound minimal. Nevertheless, these kinds of workplace injuries can be devastating and are all too common.
For example, as a longshoreman walks along a slippery surface, slips and falls, and ends up in the hospital with a multiple wrist fracture. The bill is in the thousands and that’s just for the surgery. Medical costs begin to pile up while the dock worker or longshoreman is missing out on their wages. This is a typical scenario that can destroy a family in a matter of weeks.
If it’s bad enough, a bone break in more than one area of a leg, wrist, elbow, forearm, or even a thumb, can require surgery and leave the patient incapacitated for a long period of time, or without the same range of movement or strength, indefinitely. That could mean a career-ending injury.
Some other serious injuries include:
Toxic Exposure Injuries
- A stevedore or longshoreman is trapped, and then crushed, between two containers being pushed too close together
- Crushed limb
- Loss of fingers
Exposure to toxic chemicals including long term exposure to hazardous substances can cause serious and even terminal illnesses. Longshoremen and dock workers have some of the highest rates of occupational injury and illness, including lung cancer, because of the dust particles that workers are constantly breathing in.
Other illnesses from toxic exposures include:
Illness from Rain, Cold and Heat
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Brain, kidney, and bladder cancers
- Auto-immune disorders
- Pulmonary disorders and scarring
are the two most dangerous heat-related illnesses for longshoremen, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But as we saw in the Texas freeze event
, cold temperatures or freezing rain can be equally dangerous. Longshoremen and dock workers, as outdoor workers, are highly exposed to the elements every day they come to do their job.
Occupational Illnesses, Injuries and Accidents Common to Longshoreman Work
Occupational illnesses or injuries arise as a result of regular exposure to something in the workplace. These exposures are often chemical, physical or biological. The list is long, but for longshoremen and other dock and maritime workers, the following illnesses and injuries are highly common:
Other Injuries and Illnesses Related to Longshoreman Work
- Stress-related illness
- Chronic back injuries
- Vision loss and loss of hearing
III. I’m A Longshoreman and I Was Injured in a Work-related Accident: Does the Law Protect Me?
Your longshoreman accident injuries may be covered by multiple maritime laws
that only an experienced legal team
will be able to successfully navigate.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
is a complex federal law that provides compensation for longshoremen and other dock workers disabled after on the job injuries that occur on the “navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel”. The LHWCA provides for:
- Monetary compensation
- Medical care
- Vocational rehabilitation services
- Payment of survivor benefits to dependents if the work injury causes, or contributes to, the employee’s death
The LHWCA also covers employees in other traditional maritime occupations
- Harbor construction workers
- Dock workers
Employers and their insurance companies have their own team of adjusters, investigators and aggressive defense lawyers doing everything in their power to deny you or your loved one their rights under the LHWCA
. You will need a good legal team to help you collect what you deserve if you’ve been injured, or lost a loved one, in a maritime accident.
The maritime attorneys at Jim Adler & Associates
have been hammering insurance companies and employers looking to avoid paying injured and ill employees for four decades. We can help you prepare a claim, file a lawsuit, present your case in court and/or reach a settlement for the damages related to your longshoremen and other maritime injuries.
Regardless of whether your injuries occurred in the Port of Houston, or any other port in Texas or the United States, we’re here to help. And we only get paid if you get paid
. Our fees come out of a favorable jury verdict or settlement, never your pocket!
Contact Jim Adler & Associates for your free initial consultation
with our top LHWCA and maritime attorneys
Call us at 1-800-505-1414
or fill out our FREE initial consultation form
and we will get in touch with you immediately.