Compensating Maritime Crane and Cargo Accident Injuries

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The maritime industry relies on cranes for moving cargo, transferring materials, and other operations. Gantry cranes load and unload cargo containers from vessels. Shipboard pedestal cranes are used in various capacities, including commercial fishing.

Despite heavy safety regulations including training, monitoring, construction, and equipment maintenance, maritime crane and cargo accidents remain common. Victims often suffer serious injuries and even death.

Victims and their families may receive financial compensation. There is a process to take action and claim compensation.

Contact the Haun Mena maritime injury lawyers today if you or a loved one has been injured in a maritime crane or cargo accident. We can represent you to receive compensation for your maritime crane or cargo accident.

Crane Accidents in the Maritime Industry

Causes of crane accidents in the maritime industry include:

  • Operating on land that has recently been worked that exceeds the load-bearing capacity of the crane

  • Being unprepared for operating differences between cranes mounted on barge acts and cranes on land

  • Forces applied to a barge during the transfer of a load

  • Poor crane construction and design that negatively impacts lift capacity; failing to operate in accordance with lift capacity

  • Failing to correctly train, monitor, and evaluate a crane operator

  • Inadequate inspections for malfunction and deterioration; poor maintenance of the crane

  • Wind speeds that impact the crane and its hoisted load and ground conditions

  • Falling from the crane structure or cab

  • Getting stuck in moving parts or struck by a swinging object

  • Poor operations including lack of communication, working too many hours without a break, or failing to respond appropriately to warning signs

Source: CDC NIOSH Alert, Preventable Worker Injuries and Deaths from Mobile Crane Tip-Over, Boom Collapse, and Uncontrolled Hoisted Loads, 2006

Cargo Accidents in the Maritime Industry

Cargo shipping is the heartbeat of the world economy. 11 billion tons of goods are transported by ship each year. (International Chamber of Shipping, Shipping and world trade: driving prosperity)

For the many thousands of workers involved in cargo in the maritime industry, dangers persist. Items transported may be goods for sale, food products, or even luggage for travelers. Loads may be moved by hand or using machines.

Dangers for cargo workers in the maritime industry include:

  • Overuse injuries, sprains, and strains
  • Working in confined spaces, causing struck by or struck between injuries
  • Drowning
  • Health and safety hazards from transporting live animals
  • Dropped loads
  • Electrical incidents and fire
  • Vehicle accidents when vehicles are involved in the movement of cargo
  • Weather dangers, like working in conditions that are too hot or cold

Compensation for Maritime Crane and Cargo Accident Victims

Those working with cranes and cargo in the maritime industry need to know how to claim compensation. Injuries are often severe. With medical bills, lost work, and physical suffering, injured workers need to understand how to file their claim and what they may deserve for their losses and damages.

The good news – there are multiple avenues for maritime crane and cargo accident victims to go about claiming compensation. There are multiple ways of claiming compensation and various laws protecting workers at the state and federal levels. Victims have the protections of both state and federal law that can work to their favor in the claims process.

The challenge – It can be difficult for the worker to sort through the myriad of laws and regulations and determine how to best approach their case. Pursuing the case in the proper court, with the correct body of law, and in the required manner can be a significant task. At Haun Mena, our maritime crane and cargo accident lawyers can represent you at every stage of the process.

Your case begins with medical treatment for crane or cargo injuries

What all cases have in common is that they begin with emergency medical care. Because of the heavy equipment and loads involved, every crane or cargo accident should be treated as a potentially life-threatening situation. Emergency services should be summoned immediately. The victim should receive immediate care even if their symptoms seem minor after the accident.

The purpose of this immediate medical care is two-fold. First, it is critical to stabilize the victim and prevent future injury. Timely medical attention may save the victim a lot of time later in the healing process. Injuries can sometimes be stabilized before they become untreatable. Second, immediate medical care is the first step in documenting the legal case. It establishes that an accident occurred and that the injuries are the result. Delaying necessary medical treatment can adversely affect your physical health, as well as any potential case you may have.

Laws for Maritime Crane and Cargo Accident Victims

The next step is determining what laws apply – federal or state laws? Personal injury or workers’ compensation?

The answers to these questions determine several things:

  • Whether you must prove negligence on the part of the employer or another party
  • The compensation you may receive, and whether it includes pain and suffering
  • How you file the case and the court or governing body with authority to hear it

Except for maintenance and care support, negligence must be proven. Once negligence is proven, the victim may pursue damages that include lost wages, pain and suffering and lost quality of life. For example, the captain and crew of a ship may bring their claim under the Jones Act.

However, if the USL&H (United States Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act) applies, medical expenses and a portion of lost wages can be claimed. Wage compensation is limited to a percentage of weekly wages with a maximum amount.

State laws may apply, too. The victim may qualify for state workers’ compensation or a third-party personal injury claim. Each of these paths for compensation have their own system for how to qualify to bring a case, what must be proven, and the relief available to the injured worker.

Attorneys for Maritime Crane and Cargo Accidents

Understand that as a worker, compensation may be available – the laws strongly protect workers. However, you must correctly pursue the claim through the right channels for the relief allowed by law.

At Haun Mena, we are experienced attorneys for maritime crane and cargo accidents. If you have been injured in a maritime accident, we invite you to learn more about our services. We can evaluate your case, determine the best way for you to claim compensation, and pursue your case in full. Time deadlines apply, so don’t wait. Contact us to begin a free case evaluation.


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