If you have a job as a seaman on ships coming into the Port of Palm Beach or you work as a longshoreman in the port area, you take daily risks to do your job. Maritime laws protect workers like you and provide ways to seek compensation for injuries. A Palm Beach maritime lawyer can help you recover damages after a workplace accident.
The Port of Palm Beach
The Port of Palm Beach, in Riviera Beach, Florida, is the state’s fourth busiest cargo and container shipping port.
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Cargo shipping makes up the bulk of the business in the port, but one cruise line, Celebration, has set up operations here. Billions of dollars of cargo pass through Palm Beach annually, making this a busy and economically significant port for the state and the country.
Container Shipping and Accidents
As a busy container shipping port, the Port of Palm Beach employs thousands of workers. If you work as a longshoreman or in another position in the port, there are many risks you take daily. Plenty of accidents could cause you to be injured or even die in the most tragic accidents.
Common port accidents include trips and slips that lead to falls. These can cause cuts, scrapes, and broken bones. Falls from greater heights, like on walkways and ladders, can be fatal or cause severe head, neck, or back injuries.
Falls into the water are not uncommon in ports and can lead to drownings or even being crushed between a ship and a dock.
Plenty of accidents occur with the cargo and the equipment used to lift and move it. In container shipping, large cranes are used to move the containers.
These can cause severe accidents if the person operating them makes a mistake, or the equipment fails because it was improperly maintained or repaired. Trucks moving cargo around the port also cause accidents, as do platforms and forklifts.
All kinds of accidents are possible in port warehouses, from falls from ladders, platforms, and scaffolding to falling cargo. Electrical problems can cause accidents and injuries, as can warehouse fires. Exposure can be a problem for workers if a warehouse stores toxic chemicals.
These are just a few ways port workers can be injured on the job, especially in a busy shipping port.
Examples of Real Accidents at the Port of Palm Beach
Plenty of accidents have occurred near the Port of Palm Beach. Some accidents are truly accidental, but the sad truth is that most are preventable. If you work in this industry and have an accident, you can likely find some negligence involved.
It may be that someone wasn’t trained properly and made an error when operating equipment or that the walkways weren’t maintained, causing a fall to be inevitable. Whatever the reason was, most accidents could have been avoided with preventive measures.
Container Ship Fatality
In one such tragic example, a worker died in the hull of a container ship in the port. Initial investigations could not determine why he was allowed into this area of the ship alone. As it happened, he went into an opening that was too small, became stuck, and died, despite rescuers’ efforts to get him out of the ship.
If proper procedures had been followed, he would not have been there alone, and the accident could have been avoided.
Not all container shipping accidents occur in port. Sometimes they happen out at sea where seamen do the dangerous work of operating and navigating these large vessels. In 2015, an accident happened with a container ship near Palm Beach.
Twenty-five large containers fell off a barge from the port to Puerto Rico and were lost. Thankfully no one was hurt, but someone made a big mistake, and not only was cargo lost, but the containers were carrying batteries which caused pollution in the ocean.
If you work in the Port of Palm Beach or on ships that come into port here, you have laws that protect you if you are the victim of one of these maritime accidents.
If you qualify as a seaman, someone who works mainly on a ship at sea, you are covered by:
The Jones Act is an essential law because it allows you to seek compensation if you can show that your employer’s negligence played a role in your accident. The burden of proof is low, and this law provides an essential source of compensation for seamen.
You probably qualify as a longshoreman or harbor worker if you work in the port. You may be able to get money through the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act if you are involved in an accident.
To earn money through this federal program, you don’t have to prove negligence was involved; you only need to have been injured while on the job. Either law will help you get money to cover your lost wages and medical bills. If you die on the job, your dependents are entitled to the same benefits.
Legal Resources in Palm Beach
Determining which law applies in your situation, filing a claim correctly, and then battling against your employer to get the money you are owed isn’t easy. You can find an experienced maritime lawyer in Palm Beach to help you navigate this complicated system of laws.
A professional who has worked for other maritime workers to get them the cash they deserve has the expertise you need to fight for your rights. Don’t let your employer or the insurance companies deny you the money you need to return to work after an accident. Work with a maritime lawyer and fight back.