Without dedicated dock workers, South Carolina’s docks and ports would not be operating as smoothly and quickly as they do. Dock workers load and unload cargo, complete needed repairs, and assist with other vital duties. Because of these duties, though, dock workers often place themselves in potentially risky situations in which they could face injury, long-term disabilities, or even death.
These workers may be exposed to hazardous chemicals, slip and fall onto hard surfaces or into the water, or have numerous other accidents. When employers do not provide safe working conditions and thorough training, these risks may increase.
While dock workers and other maritime employees are not granted workers’ compensation rights in South Carolina, federal law does allow them to file suit against their employer with a skilled personal injury attorney’s help. Working with an experienced Port of Charleston dock worker injury lawyer after experiencing a workplace injury could increase your chances of being granted damages in your case.
Dock Worker Injuries
In addition to the inherent hazards of their jobs, a dock worker’s chances of injury or death can increase with poor weather conditions, faulty or poorly maintained equipment, and hazardous cargo. A dock worker could:
- Slip on a wet surface and fall
- Be exposed to fires and explosions
- Exposed to harmful chemicals and fumes
- Falling into water and drowning
Injuries stemming from such incidents can range from simple scrapes and bruises to broken bones to spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries. These injuries could leave them unable to return to work for quite some time—or ever, in particularly severe cases. Representation from a skilled Port of Charleston dock worker injury lawyer may be all the more important to an injured worker who needs compensation for long-term damages and losses.
The Jones Act, formally the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that supports the development and maintenance of merchant marines. According to 46 U.S.C. §30104, seamen—a title which applies to certain dock workers—are entitled to bring a civil personal injury lawsuit against their employers when they are injured during the course of their employment. The suit can be filed in federal district court or in state court.
Another right granted to seamen by the Jones Act is the right to a jury trial, which traditional maritime law does not allow for. A dock worker injury attorney in Port of Charleston could advise individual workers about whether this law applies to their situation.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that mostly applies to maritime employees and employers who are land-based. For a worker to be eligible for benefits under this Act, maritime tasks must be at least a portion of their day-to-day work.
Dock workers who do not qualify to recover for their damages under the Jones Act usually qualify under the LHWCA. Under this Act, employees can receive disability payments, medical treatment, transportation, and rehabilitation costs. For more information about the LHWCA, reach out to a knowledgeable attorney.
Speak with a Port of Charleston Dock Worker Injury Attorney
Workers’ compensation laws can be quite confusing and complex for injured dock workers. You may not know which laws apply to your specific case, but you likely still need to get your medical bills paid and make up for your lost wages. Hiring a well-versed Port of Charleston dock worker injury lawyer could help clear up the confusion.
A qualified attorney could tell you which laws apply to you and how you could best obtain compensation for your injuries, whether it is through a civil lawsuit or through filing a formal workers’ comp claim. For help receiving the benefits or compensation you may be entitled to, call today to set up a consultation.