Los Angeles is a major city and a major port for both the state of California and the country. With the adjacent Port of Long Beach, this is the largest port area in the U.S. These ports handle one-fourth of all container traffic in the country and are major players in the global marketplace and shipping industry. The Port of Los Angeles includes berths for cargo and container ships as well as cruise ships and is home to plenty of recreational opportunities including a downtown harbor area, museums, historic ships, and parks.
As with any port, there are daily hazards here that workers have to face. As one of the largest and busiest ports in the country and the world, Port of Los Angeles workers face more risks than most port employees. If you work here, know that you have a right to compensation if you get injured on the job. Don’t let your employer deny you that compensation. If you get hurt, fight for it with the help of an experienced Los Angeles maritime lawyer.
The Port of Los Angeles
Working in the huge and busy Port of Los Angeles is exciting and can be lucrative too. The port is located about 25 miles south of the downtown area of Los Angeles and it is officially known as America’s Port. The port covers about 7,500 acres of land with 43 miles of California waterfront. There are 27 terminals here for a variety of ships from passenger and cruise ships to the biggest container ships in the world. The port also has 16 marinas for recreational and charter boats.
Cargo is the major industry here with nearly $300 billion worth of cargo coming in and out of the port each year. The volume of containers in the port outranks any other port in the U.S. and is the 19th highest in the world. With the neighboring Port of Long Beach it is the night largest port in the world. The biggest imports here are furniture, auto parts and apparel, while the major exports are paper, animal feed, and scrap metal.
Port of Los Angeles Accidents
The port is a dangerous place to work. There are huge cranes lifting containers and other heavy cargo, forklifts, tractors, and trucks crisscrossing the port, toxic liquid cargo, huge warehouses full of cargo and machinery, and of course the water in the harbor itself. Accidents can range from falls into the water to falls from walkways, being struck by cranes or cargos, truck and tractor accidents, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Not all accidents cause injuries, but many do and many even lead to deaths.
A couple of examples of such tragic fatalities in the port occurred in 2013 and 2010. In 2013 a worker at the Port of Los Angeles was driving a tractor when it fell into the water near one of the ship berths. Why it went into the water was not determined, but the worker became trapped in the cab and could not be rescued in time. At the Port of Long Beach in 2010 another worker died in a tractor accident. Driving cargo from one point to another the worker was struck by another tractor, was ejected from his seat and was run over and killed.
Yet another utility tractor accident occurred in 2015 and killed a longshore worker. He had been driving a truck when he was struck by a tractor. It was thought that the collision caused him to hit his head on the truck’s windshield and that this lead to his death. The other worker, driving the tractor, was injured but was treated at the hospital and recovered.
Truck and tractor collisions and accidents are not the only incidents that injure and kill workers in ports. Cargo and the equipment used to lift it also often causes injuries and fatalities. Such was the case in 2014 when a worker died after being struck in the head by a moving piece of equipment. He was a crew member working on a ship docked at the time when the equipment used to move the cargo swung out and hit him in the head. He died soon after from the blunt force trauma.
Legal Rights for Los Angeles Maritime Workers
If you are injured on the job in the port or on a ship you have legal resources to help you get the compensation that will get you back to work. If you die, your loved ones have those same resources available to them. If you are a seaman, the Jones Act gives you the right to sue your employer if you are being denied money after an accident and negligence was involved. Seamen also have rights under maintenance and cure and the doctrine of unseaworthiness.
If you work in the port you may not qualify as a seaman, but you likely can get money through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Knowing which law applies to you and how to leverage them to get the compensation you need is not always easy. There are forms to fill out, statutes of limitations and high-paid lawyers to face, but if you work with a Los Angeles maritime lawyer, you can avoid the mistakes and pitfalls that may cause you to lose out on compensation. Trust this expert to guide you through the process and represent you in the fight to get your money.