Ft. Lauderdale is often overshadowed by the flashiness of Miami, but this laid back city and port area is a water lover’s destination. Known as the “Venice of America,” the city is crisscrossed by canals, has white, sandy beaches, and is home to more boats than most anywhere else in the country. Anchoring this major coastal city is Port Everglades, home to container shipping, petroleum shipping, cruise ships, and the U.S. Navy. Only PortMiami and Port Canaveral are busier cruise ports than this one.
If you live in Ft. Lauderdale and work in the maritime industry, you know how dangerous your job can be. Whether you work as a longshoreman in the port or a seaman on one of the many ships that come into Port Everglades, you take risks every day on the job. From mild injuries to cruise-ship illnesses to serious ship-board accidents, getting hurt on the job is an everyday possibility. On your side are all the laws that make up federal maritime law. If you are hurt on the job you have a right to seek compensation, and a Ft. Lauderdale maritime attorney can help you get it.
The port that serves Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, and other areas nearby is a crucial deep water port. It is the third busiest cruise port in the country, with millions of passengers coming through the port every year. Nearly 50 large cruise ships from various cruise lines are based full-time in Port Everglades. Only Miami and Port Canaveral have a busier cruise industry than Ft. Lauderdale.
Cruise ships are not the only ships bringing business to Port Everglades. There are thousands of container and cargo ships that come and go from the port every year, making it one of the busiest cargo ports in the country. The port can also claim to be South Florida’s main incoming port for petroleum products. International trade makes up a big portion of the business conducted here.
Working in the Port
If you work in Port Everglades, there is any number of jobs you might do every day, but most of them are bound to be dangerous. Port and harbor jobs include those for longshoreman, cargo crane operators, truck drivers, electricians, ship builders and repairers, and more. In addition to port workers there are plenty of seamen coming into the port, doing all kinds of jobs on ships from catching and processing fish to manning oil tankers to taking care of passengers on cruise ships.
Both jobs in the port and on the ships that come into port are dangerous and come with daily hazards that often cause workers to become ill or injured. Some accidents are so bad that workers are even killed on the job. Common accidents and injuries in this line of work include burns and smoke inhalation from ship fires, slip-and-fall accidents, fractures from falling from ladders, stairs, and walkways, falling overboard and drowning or suffering hypothermia, lost limbs from machinery accidents, crushing accidents from falling cargo, and exposure to toxic cargo and asbestos.
Examples of Accidents
You don’t need to use your imagination to come up with the types of accidents that effect workers at Port Everglades and on the ships coming into port. There are plenty of real examples of the moderate to tragic accidents that affect workers regularly. One such example of a sad and tragic accident occurred in the port in 2013. Workers were making repairs to a passenger gangway for a cruise ship. A scissor lift, used as a platform to raise workers tipped over and fell onto the workers. Two died and a third was seriously injured.
It isn’t just the specialized equipment used in the port area that can cause such tragic accidents. A port is a busy workplace, and sometime it is something ordinary that leads to an accident, injury, or death. In 2011, for instance, a man was hit by a truck driving through Port Everglades. The worker was assisting the driver in unloading containers, but a miscommunication caused the truck driver to hit and pin the man between the truck and the container. He died on the scene.
Other accidents are less tragic, such as the incident in 2012 in which a driver of an oil tanker lost control of the truck and struck a light pole. The driver was injured and taken to the hospital, but recovered. Luckily there was no oil in the tanker at the time of the accident. If there had been, fire, explosions, and spills could have added to the situation.
Maritime Workers’ Rights
If you work in the maritime industry in Ft. Lauderdale, you have a right to get compensation that will help you pay for associated costs after an accident. For example, if you are a seaman and are injured on the job, you can file a claim through the Jones Act to get money for medical bills and lost wages. If you work in the port you most likely qualify for the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides money for injuries and accidents.
To navigate the complicated system of laws that make up maritime law isn’t easy. If you don’t believe you are getting the compensation you are owed after an accident you may not be sure what to do next. Let an experienced Ft. Lauderdale maritime attorney help you figure out which law applies to you and how to file a claim. With a lawyer’s expertise to guide you, you can be sure you will get all the compensation to which you are entitled.