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Shipyard Accident Lawyers

Shipyards are workplace environments fraught with hazards and the potential for catastrophic injuries. The hustle and bustle on docks and piers, with a vast amount of cargo constantly being loaded and unloaded from ships, sets the stage for potential accidents. The operation of heavy machinery and vehicles, alongside the ceaseless activity of passengers, crew, and longshoremen, creates a backdrop where accidents can readily occur, leading to injuries.

Moreover, shipyard work carries inherent risks. Accidents occur frequently. Specialized machinery, electrical equipment, and hazardous materials in the construction and repair of ships all pose significant risks. Any of these elements can be the source of an accident that causes serious injury to a worker. Even the most experienced and cautious workers are not immune to the dangers present in dock, pier, or shipyard environments.

Shipyard Accident Lawyers

Call us today at 832-844-6700 for a free case evaluation with an experienced Houston work injury lawyer.

Severe injuries sustained in shipyard accidents can have profound impacts on workers and their families. From debilitating physical harm that may lead to long-term or permanent disability to the emotional and financial strain placed on loved ones, the repercussions extend far beyond the immediate aftermath of the accident. These injuries not only affect the quality of life and earning capacity of the workers but also bring about significant changes to family dynamics and financial stability.

What’s more, oftentimes, the workplace or insurance company doesn’t want to fully acknowledge the extent of your injuries or provide the compensation you rightfully deserve. This is where the expertise of a Houston shipyard accident lawyer becomes invaluable. At Johnson Garcia, our maritime accident lawyers assess your case thoroughly, gather crucial evidence, and identify all liable parties to establish a claim is solid and compelling.

We negotiate diligently on your behalf and, if necessary, will fight for you in court to secure fair compensation. Our goal is to alleviate the legal burdens so you and your family can focus on recovery and rebuilding your lives. Read on to find out more about your rights and how we can help navigate these challenging waters together.

Common Shipyard Hazards and Accidents

In the bustling world of shipyards, docks, and piers, accidents are varied and all too common. From vehicle movements with improperly secured cargo to the intricate processes of building, repairing, and dismantling ships, shipyard environments are filled with a variety of risks that can lead to accidents, affecting workers’ health and safety.

Working in this type of environment demands a large and coordinated workforce, often navigating the use of heavy machinery and completing complex tasks under pressing timelines. This blend of high-stakes operations and diverse activities lays the groundwork for a wide array of potential hazards that shipyard workers face daily. Here are some of the most common risks faced by shipyard workers:

  • High-level Falls: Workers frequently operate at heights using ladders, scaffolding, and harnesses. Despite safety measures, the risk of falling from several stories high is significant, posing severe injury risks not only from the fall itself but also from tools that might drop, endangering those below.
  • Cutting and Machinery Accidents: The use of heavy machinery for cutting steel and other materials can lead to serious injuries, including lacerations or even dismemberment if limbs become caught in machinery.
  • Explosions and Fires: Activities like electric welding near oil tanks or handling hazardous chemicals can lead to explosions or fires. Such incidents can cause severe burns, even through protective clothing, and propel objects like nails into the air, creating additional hazards.
  • Exposure to Hazardous Materials: Regular contact with harmful substances such as solvents, paints, and welding fumes can result in chronic health issues without proper safety measures.
  • Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: The constant use of loud tools and machinery without effective hearing protection can lead to irreversible hearing damage, including hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Vibration Injuries: Extended use of power tools can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome, leading to lasting damage affecting the musculoskeletal, neurological, and vascular systems.
  • Gangway, Container, and Crane Accidents: Mishaps involving gangways, containers, and cranes are prevalent, often due to equipment failure or operational errors, leading to injuries or fatalities.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: Slippery surfaces, uneven ground, and obstacles contribute to common incidents, causing a range of injuries from minor to severe.
  • Mooring Line Incidents: Accidents involving mooring lines, which can snap under tension, pose significant risks of injury from whiplash or being struck by the line.
  • Collisions and Structural Failures: Collisions between vessels and piers, along with the structural failure of docks and piers, can lead to catastrophic outcomes for workers and infrastructure alike.
  • Electrocutions: Working with or near electrical installations, especially in damp conditions, puts workers at risk of electrocution.

Many maritime accidents stem from negligence on the part of facility operators or employers. Accidents often occur when safety protocols are disregarded or when workers lack proper training. For instance, if electrical installations near water are not correctly secured, leading to an electrocution, the employer could be held responsible. Not all cases of negligence are straightforward, however. Some involve employers pushing workers to exceed safe working hours or failing to maintain docks and piers, compromising the safety of the work environment.

At Johnson Garcia, we understand the complexities of maritime law and the profound impact of workplace accidents on employees and their families. Our experienced team is dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable and fighting to secure the compensation our clients deserve for their injuries and losses. If you’ve been affected by a shipyard accident, Johnson Garcia is here to help navigate your legal journey to recovery and justice.

Compensation for Injuries at a Shipyard

If you’ve suffered an injury at a shipyard, you could be eligible for compensation through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the Jones Act, or other relevant legislation. Our skilled shipyard accident attorneys are here to explore your legal options with you. Let’s delve into the two primary laws that govern these scenarios.

Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA)

The LHWCA offers benefits to those employed in the maritime sector, including shipyard workers, covering injuries and illnesses that occur on navigable waters, in harbor areas, or in adjoining zones where ships are loaded, unloaded, repaired, or constructed. This legislation ensures workers and their survivors receive medical benefits, disability compensation, rehabilitation services, and more.

Eligibility for LHWCA benefits hinges on the worker being injured during work-related tasks, with the incident resulting in injury, disability, or death. However, it’s important to note exceptions to eligibility, such as injuries from intoxication, employees of the U.S. government or foreign nations, and seamen or their masters.

A key feature of the LHWCA is its no-fault system, allowing injured employees to receive benefits without proving employer negligence. In exchange, employees generally cannot sue their employers for additional injury-related damages. Specific injuries, including those to the head, neck, back, and hernias affecting future earning capacity, entitle workers to two-thirds of their weekly wage loss for life. Arm and leg injuries compensation is determined by the extent of permanent impairment while hearing loss claims can be filed regardless of prior injuries or employment.

Moreover, the aggravation of pre-existing conditions and cumulative trauma from repetitive activities are compensable under the LHWCA. This Act broadly covers injuries or fatalities occurring in shipyard-related environments, providing a pathway for employees to claim damages for medical care, rehabilitation, or lost wages due to work-related accidents or illnesses. Notably, it mandates employers to compensate two-thirds of an injured longshoreman’s wages during recovery, regardless of fault and allows for compensation claims in cases of employer negligence or recklessness.

The Jones Act

The Jones Act gives seamen the chance to sue their employers for injuries that happen while working on boats or ships. This law covers workers like tugboat operators, deckhands, and captains, basically anyone who spends a good chunk of their time (at least 30 percent) working on a vessel.

Under this Act, if you’re injured, you can ask for money for your pain, lost wages, medical bills, and more. You also get something called maintenance and cure benefits, which help cover your living and medical costs after an injury. But, unlike the LHWCA, you need to show that your employer did something wrong that led to your injury.

At Johnson Garcia, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that shipyard injuries can impose on workers and their families. Whether your claim falls under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the Jones Act, or another relevant law, our team will fight to secure compensation that reflects the full extent of your injuries. With our in-depth knowledge of maritime law and a commitment to our clients, we stand ready to support you through every step of the legal process, helping you to navigate these complex regulations with confidence and ease.

How to Report an Injury as a Shipyard Worker

If you’re injured or fall ill due to your job, taking the right steps immediately can make a big difference in your recovery and compensation claim:

  • Inform your supervisor right away to document the incident officially.
  • Report the injury or illness to your shipyard’s medical clinic if there’s one available.
  • Seek medical attention promptly. Don’t ignore your injuries, hoping they’ll just go away. A medical professional should evaluate your condition to ensure you’re fit to work or advise if you need specific limitations. This step is not just about your health— it’s also crucial for your claim.
  • Document everything. As you seek medical care, keep detailed records of your injuries and all related communications. Whether it’s emails, text messages, or medical reports, having a paper trail can support your case.

Before you sign any documents related to your injury, it’s important to get advice from:

  • Your chief shop steward
  • Your union business agent
  • A knowledgeable personal injury attorney

Quick and thorough action, including getting medical help and documenting your injury and treatment, lays a solid foundation for your claim. Consulting with a personal injury attorney early on can guide you through the process so that you don’t overlook crucial steps that could affect your right to compensation.

How Can the Shipyard Accident Lawyers at Johnson Garcia Help?

Navigating a claim for an injury or illness sustained in the maritime industry can be overwhelming, especially while you’re trying to recover. The laws governing maritime work and personal injuries are intricate, and securing a successful claim typically requires in-depth legal knowledge. Mistakes in filing or failing to convincingly argue your case can lead to receiving less than you deserve or even having your claim denied.

At Johnson Garcia, our maritime attorneys are experienced in assisting workers injured on the job. We’re equipped with the knowledge to ensure you receive comprehensive compensation for your recovery. This can cover everything from medical bills and rehabilitation costs to compensation for pain, suffering, and lost wages.

If you or someone close to you has been injured at a dock, pier, or shipyard, reach out to us for a free case evaluation by phone at 832-844-6700 or reach out to us online. Let us help you take the next steps toward securing the support and compensation you need.

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