Injuries to Longshoremen
Working as a longshoreman, stevedore, or dock worker may sometimes lead to unexpected accidents. Jobs at ports, shipyards, and harbors may present serious risks while loading and unloading ships, working with large containers, or managing hazardous cargo. While there are many federal and state laws that protect injured workers, longshoremen and their families are generally protected by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the Defense Base Act, the Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act, or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. In some cases, longshoremen can claim the same legal benefits as Jones Act seamen under Rule 905(b).
Laws such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act are intended to ensure that injured dock workers receive compensation benefits “promptly and properly.” According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for example, it is estimated that injured longshoremen received approximately $1.4 billion in benefits as a result of these laws in just one year. Such compensations may be awarded to injured workers in the form of partial weekly paychecks, payment of medical expenses, compensation for injured body parts, lost wages, and survivor’s benefits.
Because of the diverse contents that are transported on ships and the difficult conditions that can arise during the job, accidents in ports and harbors can result in severe catastrophes. For example, one case from the docks in Texas City can best illustrate the potential danger of working in a port. As dock workers unloaded cargo from a ship on an early Wednesday morning, they noticed that a small fire had ignited onboard the ship. The problem quickly escalated when the dock workers were instructed to not use water to extinguish the fire since that could potentially harm the cargo. While workers tried less efficient ways to end the fire, the flames expanded and eventually caused the explosion of the cargo. Unknown to the dock workers, the ship’s cargo included containers carrying a flammable chemical called ammonium nitrate. The explosion of the aluminum nitrate led to the deaths of 576 dock workers and over 1,000 destroyed buildings in Texas City. This tragic dock accident came to be widely known as “the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the nation.”
While not all accidents are as catastrophic as the explosion in Texas City, every accident is severe and requires immediate attention. Whether you were injured in the Port of Texas City, Houston, Galveston, or any other port or harbor in the country, you are protected by the law and may be entitled to compensation.
If you were injured while cargo was being loaded and unloaded from a ship, while a crane moved containers from a dock to a vessel, or while you conducted maintenance on a docked boat, we are here to help. You need the best longshore injury lawyers in Houston; someone who knows how to talk to your employer in order to get you all the compensation that you deserve. At the Merman Law Firm, we know the devastation that a dock injury can cause to a worker and his family. We are dedicated to helping injured dock workers and their families through some of the most difficult times in their life. If you need to file a lawsuit to receive compensation after an accident, call the injury lawyers at the Merman Law Firm for immediate assistance.