The maritime industry is big in South Carolina. Each year, more than 30 different maritime shipping lines serve 150 countries through South Carolina’s ports, mainly the Port of Charleston and the Port of Georgetown.
Maritime work is hazardous. Vessels at sea are as likely to become involved in accidents as motor vehicles on land. Accidents on water also carry the hazards of drowning, hypothermia and other risks. Moving goods, materials and equipment on and off ships at South Carolina ports also subjects maritime workers to accidents that may lead to serious injuries or death.
People who have been injured in commercial maritime accidents caused by others’ negligence or carelessness have a right to compensation for their losses. Claims for many maritime accidents are subject to specific federal laws.
Joye Law Firm’s attorneys and staff are committed to treating every client with respect, compassion, and care. For more than 40 years, we have helped injured victims recover the compensation they deserve. We can be there for you, too.
Call Joye Law Firm or complete our online form for a free review of your case.
Compensation for Injured Maritime Workers
The Port of Charleston is one of the busiest container ports along the Southeastern and Gulf coasts. Charleston is also a popular commercial cruise port. Farther up the coast, the smaller Port of Georgetown is South Carolina’s dedicated breakbulk and bulk cargo port, handling steel, cement, aggregates, forest products, and other cargo.
Work aboard ships and at ports involves moving heavy cargo on unstable surfaces that are not always level. Falls and being hit or crushed by falling objects are among the most common accidents that cause serious injury and death among maritime workers.
Fire is also a hazard in the confined spaces aboard ships. Crane accidents are often caused by rigging mistakes or faulty or unmaintained wires or winches. Motor vehicles of all kinds on docks and in shipyards also cause many accidents.
Federal maritime and admiralty laws address injuries and deaths that occur during specific occupational activities on open seas or inland waters. They include:
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act – Longshore and harbor workers disabled by injuries on navigable waters of the United States or in waterside loading, unloading, repairing or shipbuilding areas may be eligible to receive compensation for medical care and lost wages. After a fatal work-related injury, survivors may seek benefits.
- Jones Act – If an injury occurs on an offshore vessel or oil rig, compensation may be available to cover medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.
- Death on the High Seas Act – If a worker dies three or more miles off the U.S. coast, compensation may be available to surviving family members.
General maritime law holds that the owners and operators of vessels on U.S. waterways must ensure their vessels are seaworthy. Ships must be fit for their intended use and staffed with properly trained crew members, and they must have functioning equipment and proper safety procedures in place.
If an investigation determines that a ship was not seaworthy at the time of an accident, the owner could be held liable and required to compensate those who were injured.
Maritime law encompasses the following accidents seamen and longshoremen are injured in:
- Cargo ship
- Container ship
- Fishing vessel
- Cruise ship
- Diving vessels, including diving or scuba activities
- Surveying platform
- Oil rig and jackup rig
- Marine cargo facility
If a South Carolina maritime worker is injured while performing his or her job duties, he or she may be compensated according to applicable law. However, an injured worker or grieving family is likely to find that the facts of the accident are disputed or obscured in order for an insurance company to try to save money.
In such cases, Joye Law Firm can work to establish the facts of a maritime accident and help the injured victim or family members determine the legal remedies available to them. We can seek the financial benefits available through negotiation or legal action.
Contact Our South Carolina Maritime Accident Lawyers
Maritime accident cases are often complex and subject to specialized workplace regulations, as well as federal law. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident offshore or onshore, you should discuss it with a maritime accident attorney to determine the best course of action available to you.
Call Joye Law Firm or use this online contact form for a free case review today.