A Harbor Worker Injury Lawyer Can Help You With Your Injury Claim

The maritime industry includes the movement of cargo and other materials in addition to vessel construction, repair, and scrapping. According to OSHA, workers in the maritime industry face a variety of hazards on the job, including machinery and equipment hazards, fire hazards, confined/enclosed spaces, and the risk of slips, trips, and falls. If you were injured working, contact an experienced harbor worker injury lawyer at Brais Law Firm to help assess your claim. 

Harbor Worker Injuries Can Lead to Life-Long Disabilities and Costs

Being injured when you are working to support yourself and your family can lead to significant medical costs and negatively impact your ability to earn during recovery and potentially into the future. If you have experienced an injury while working at a harbor, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and earnings potential, and in some instances pain and suffering. 

Your Costs and Damages Are Not Covered Automatically

As we will discuss below, recognizing how the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act applies to your accident is also an important part of your claim for damages. Coverage for your injuries is not automatic. You will have to gather evidence, draft a claim, and file it with the appropriate insurance company in the time allowed. Accurately measuring the full extent of your damages and then effectively demanding them from an insurance company can be difficult while you are recovering from an injury. Working with an attorney removes the entire claims process from your day-to-day life, as your harbor worker injury lawyer handles the whole process on your behalf. The experienced attorneys at Brais Law Firm have helped harbor workers collect the full amount they were entitled to for their injuries, and we are standing by to consult on your case. 

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The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

As detailed by the U.S. Department of Labor, the LHWCA is a federal law that applies to injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel. 

The benefits through the LHWCA are generally paid to the injured worker or the surviving dependents of a worker killed in an on-the-job accident by the self-insured employer or by a private insurance company on behalf of your employer. 

Under the LHWCA, beyond a traditional physical injury like a traumatic brain injury, a broken bone, or a spinal cord injury, an “injury” also includes:

  • Occupational diseases
  • Hearing loss and other physical impairments
  • Illnesses that arise out of employment

Below, we’ll discuss some common accidents and on-the-job hazards experienced by harbor workers and others in the maritime industry. 

Who is Covered Under the LHWCA?

People who are employed in traditional maritime occupations are covered under the LHWCA, including:

  • Harbor construction workers 
  • Shipbuilders or ship-breakers
  • Ship-repairers
  • Longshore workers

The LHWCA has covered various other types of employment under the charge of Congress. To determine whether or not your harbor-related injury is covered, it is helpful to speak with an attorney with direct experience in that specific area of law. 

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Common Causes of Harbor Worker Injuries

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes that marine transportation workers experience fatal injuries at a rate nearly six times the rate of all U.S. workers. From 2011-2017, there were some 87 fatal injuries and over 11,000 nonfatal occupational injuries during this time. 

The causes of maritime industry worker deaths were found to be due to:

  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Drownings
  • Workplace violence
  • Suicides
  • Work accidents

The safety standards in the maritime industry must meet or exceed OSHA requirements.

However, even the most effective planning cannot guard against some variable risks like workplace violence or accidental drownings. 

Types of Harbor Worker Injuries

The NIOSH finds that “seafarers experience high rates of injury and illness,” with certain types of injuries often leading to permanent disabilities. 

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Back injuries

Injuries to the back and spinal cord are hazards regularly faced by maritime workers due to the high risk of slipping and falling. The National Institute of Health notes that 20% of spinal cord injuries are caused by same-level slip-and-falls (i.e., when someone falls over a bucket or hose on the ground), 16% are due to falls from buildings, 16% occur on steps and stairs, and 9% happen on ladders. Back and spinal cord injuries can lead to permanent disability and life-altering changes. 

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Upper and Lower Extremity Injuries

Some of the more common injuries in the maritime industry are upper and lower extremity injuries, including strains and sprains. These occur when a ligament, the softer tissue that connects the body’s bones, is stretched or torn. Often, you will hear a pop or tear when this type of injury occurs, as in the case of an ankle or wrist sprain. Treatment for these injuries can include medication and physical therapy. Stretches may require ongoing treatment and pain management. Tears could require surgeries, rehabilitation, and long-term medication and pain management.

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Compensation Includes Lost Earnings and Medical Costs

The unique circumstances surrounding your injury will determine the amount you can collect in compensation for your injuries. Generally, you’ll be able to get amounts covering the medical costs linked to your injuries and a portion of your lost wages. However, if a third party caused your injury, damages for pain and suffering and additional lost earnings potential may be available. 

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The Amount of Damages Depends On The Proof You Present

While it would be ideal to automatically receive compensation for all costs and damages linked to your maritime injury, this is not the case. You have to file a claim, and you can only collect damages that you can prove with evidence. For example, if the only bill you have is for emergency medical care, the emergency room bill is the only one for which you will be compensated.

Even if your injury might cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future between medical costs and lost wages, if you don’t have an expert opinion to measure the long-term costs linked to your injury, you cannot collect on those damages. That said, a key function of your lawyer is to measure the true amount of your damages and collect evidence to prove them so that the insurance company has to pay and cover your costs. 

Why Hire A Harbor Worker Injury Lawyer From Brais Law Firm?

The American Bar Association suggests that the number one factor to take into consideration when hiring an attorney is experience. The harbor worker injury attorneys at Brais Law Firm have decades of combined experience representing clients injured in maritime occupations like harbor work. We have a proven track record of success and have won our clients over $50 million in combined compensation over the years. Choose an attorney with the skills and experience necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Partner Keith Brais graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a Bachelor’s in Marine Engineering. He also worked as a merchant mariner, acquired three U.S. Coast Guard licenses, and has almost a decade of experience working in offshore oil drilling. Keith is also board certified by the Florida Bar as an expert in the field of admiralty and maritime law. This rare distinction reflects our firm’s focused and unique experience and our ability to help you win on your case. 

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When Should I Contact A Harbor Worker Injury Lawyer?

If you have experienced an injury on the job, it is essential to seek immediate emergency medical attention. The excitement from the accident can lead to you overlooking injuries. Symptoms that seem minor, like soreness or headaches, may also indicate more serious injuries that require additional attention. 

After you have received emergency medical care for your injuries, it is time to reach out to a harbor worker injury lawyer from Brais Law Firm. Evidence can fade with time as witnesses’ memories fade, and the availability of physical evidence from the accident or incident that injured you becomes more difficult to access. 

We will begin the process by gathering evidence to determine the cause of your injuries and help you schedule follow-up appointments with experts to measure the long-term costs and damages linked to your injuries. 

Who Will be Handling my Case?

Your case will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to get the results you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive, including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made a choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you. Learn more.

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Cruise Ship Crew Member Injury

"I was in pain for a good 6 months, it was just a nightmare. It wasn't until I got Mr. Brais that I really started getting the help I needed from the doctors. You need somebody you can trust, somebody to give you some guidance. They stuck in there with me the whole way."

— Client

I highly recommend Brais Law Firm

"I highly recommend Brais Law Firm. Their professionalism and expertise were top notch. My slip and fall injury case involved a well known cruise ship and was nerve racking to me. They calmed all my fears and walked me through step by step. In the end they helped me obtain a favorable recovery. Look no further, call them with your Maritime case!!!"

— P.C.

Tug & Barge Crew Member Death

"I just thought he [Mr. Brais] was the man to do it. I felt comfortable with him being by my side. The pain my family has suffered has been immeasurable, but he was there with me. It’s not just him, it’s his team also. Keith really stood up for my son. I know I made the best choice."

— Client

I recommend Keith Brais

"I was in an accident where I was struck by a boat and boat propeller. The Brais Law Firm represented me in a very professional manner. I am very satisfied with the service and support I received from the firm and happy with the results they achieved. I recommend Keith Brais and his firm to anyone needing representation related to a maritime personal injury."

— M.C.

Resort Guest Injury

"As we worked with Keith, I realized what would have happened had we just selected an attorney in town…I realized that the outcome would have been probably entirely different, and not as successful as it was. I felt very comfortable going through with the whole process. I would say Keith is a superhero."

— Client

Explore Your Options Through A Free Initial Consultation

Your initial consultation is free, during which we’ll review the basic facts about your injury and the circumstances that caused it. It is helpful to be prepared for your initial consultation by putting together documents about your injury. This includes any medical bills and related work reports, and any other information concerning the injury or accident. To discuss how a harbor worker injury lawyer can help on your case, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., call 305-790-4600 with Florida or click Contact Us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.

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