Jacksonville, Florida, and JAXPORT serve as an important port and point of operations for maritime activity along the strategically important St. Johns River.
JAXPORT is the State of Florida’s largest container port and the nation’s second-largest vehicle-handling port, making it a critically important economic engine for North Florida.
In addition to cargo handling, JAXPORT supports the cruise ship industry and is near several U.S. Navy bases. In total, JAXPORT is responsible for 138,000 jobs and has an economic impact of $31 billion.
With so much activity, accidents to workers, passengers, and recreationists are inevitable. Maritime injuries involve a unique legal framework that requires specialization to ensure that you receive the compensation needed to move forward.
Johns Law Group is a team of attorneys with substantial experience and advanced training in the field of maritime injury law serving others in Jacksonville, the State of Florida, and nationwide.
Whether you were injured at JAXPORT, on a vessel, or on a cruise ship, we are available to assist you. We offer free consultations and do not charge an attorney fee unless we recover money for you. To get started, contact us today.
History of JAXPORT
The history of the Port of Jacksonville dates back to the early 19th century and is closely tied to the growth and development of the city of Jacksonville, Florida, and its role as a hub for trade and transportation.
The mid-20th century saw the construction of the St. Johns River Ship Channel, a deepwater channel that further improved the port’s accessibility for larger vessels.
The port continued to expand its facilities, welcoming more container shipping and cargo traffic. In 1968, the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) was established as an independent agency to oversee the development and management of the port.
JAXPORT continues to undergo significant modernization and expansion. Containerization revolutionized the shipping industry, and the port adapted to handle containerized cargo.
The Blount Island Marine Terminal, built in the 1980s, became a crucial hub for container operations. More recently, JAXPORT developed the TraPac Container Terminal and the expansion of the intermodal rail capabilities.
Today, the Port of Jacksonville is one of the busiest ports in Florida and the southeastern United States.
It handles a diverse range of cargo, including containers, automobiles, bulk commodities, and more. Its strategic location, deepwater channels, and efficient transportation links have contributed to its status as a major economic driver for the region.
Today, JAXPORT handles a diverse range of cargo due to its strategic location and extensive facilities. Some main types of cargo handled at the port include:
- Containers: JAXPORT is a significant container port, handling a variety of containerized goods. These goods can include consumer products, electronics, machinery, textiles, food products, and more. The port’s container terminals are equipped to efficiently load and unload containers from large container ships.
- Automobiles and Ro-Ro Cargo: The port is a key hub for the import and export of automobiles, trucks, and other rolling stock. Ro-Ro (Roll-on/Roll-off) vessels transport these vehicles, as well as heavy machinery, construction equipment, and other large, wheeled cargo.
- Bulk Cargo: Bulk commodities such as grains, coal, petroleum products, and minerals are handled at JAXPORT. Bulk cargo terminals facilitate the efficient loading and unloading of these goods.
- Breakbulk Cargo: This category includes goods that are not containerized or bulk, such as heavy machinery, project cargo, and oversized items. These goods are typically loaded and unloaded individually rather than in standardized containers.
- Liquid Bulk: JAXPORT also handles liquid bulk cargo, including chemicals, petroleum, and liquid gasses. Specialized terminals are equipped to handle the storage and transfer of these hazardous or sensitive materials.
- Refrigerated Cargo: Given its proximity to agricultural regions, JAXPORT handles refrigerated cargo or “reefer” containers carrying perishable goods like fruits, vegetables, seafood, and meat products. Specialized facilities maintain the temperature and conditions required for these goods.
- Project Cargo: The port is equipped to handle large and specialized project cargo, which can include items like industrial equipment, wind turbine components, and other oversized and heavy items that require unique handling and transportation.
- Forest Products: The port handles a variety of forest products, including paper, wood pulp, lumber, and wood products. These goods are essential components of the region’s economy.
- Military Cargo: Due to its proximity to military bases, JAXPORT has played a role in handling military equipment and supplies, including vehicles, machinery, and other materials for the armed forces.
The Port of Jacksonville’s versatility and extensive facilities allow it to handle a wide range of cargo types, making it a vital economic asset for both the city and the region.
Its connectivity to major transportation networks, including rail and road, further enhances its capabilities to serve various industries and markets.
Common Injuries in the Maritime World
The opportunity to suffer an injury can be around every corner and under every hull in an environment as busy as the Port of Jacksonville. The harms that can befall many workers in marine terminals include:
- Slip and falls;
- Trauma from being struck by falling cargo or equipment;
- Falls into the water;
- Crushing injuries from equipment;
- Collisions with vehicles, such as container trucks, forklifts, and railcars; and
- Exposure to hazardous materials.
These injuries can be permanently or temporarily debilitating, but either way, workers should be compensated for work-related injuries and injuries that are the result of others’ misconduct or negligence.
Seeking relief in a maritime accident isn’t always easy in light of the different state and federal laws that might apply. However, our Port of Jacksonville injury lawyers have the expertise to get the most out of your claim.
Jacksonville Maritime Attorneys Here to Serve You
Maritime injuries and accidents are often complicated and require the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced maritime attorney.
If you were injured while working at JAXPORT, it is important to understand and protect your rights because, oftentimes, your employer (and their insurance companies) may view you as a liability instead of an employee entitled to protection.
Workers’ Rights Under the Jones Act
The maritime law makes a significant distinction between seamen and maritime workers. In general, seamen injured at work are entitled to recover damages pursuant to the Jones Act.
The Jones Act is a federal law that creates a fault-based compensation system for injured workers. This means that you have to show that your employer’s negligence played a role in your injury to recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, disability, and general damages.
Eligibility to Make a Claim Under the Jones Act
In general, to recover under the Jones Act, you must prove that you suffered an injury while in service of a vessel and that you were a seaman at the time of your injury.
To be a seaman, you typically need to work on a vessel or common group of vessels for at least 30% of your time for your employer.
When you think of seamen, you might think of members of a cargo ship’s crew, but the definition extends beyond that.
For instance, with JAXPORT being one of the country’s largest vehicle handling ports and being a home for year-round Carnival Cruise Line service, several cruise line employees might have the right to claim damages under the Jones Act for their cruise line work at JAXPORT.
Remedies Available Under the Jones Act
The potential damages available to a Jones Act seaman tend to be higher than the damages available under most workers’ compensation laws because it accounts for all wage loss, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
The types of damages you can recoup under the Jones Act often depend on the level of fault you can prove in your injury case. There are no-fault damages and damages that are applicable when you can prove the unseaworthiness of the vessel or negligence.
The no-fault damages under the Jones Act are:
- Maintenance, which includes the reasonable costs of transportation to healthcare appointments, lodging, and food;
- Unearned wage payments, which last until the voyage the employee was on ends; and
- Cure, which includes the costs of hospitalization, medicine, medical attention, and medical equipment.
If you can prove that negligence or a vessel’s unseaworthiness caused your injury, you can recover payment for your financial losses and compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you want to initiate a Jones Act claim, speak to one of our Port of Jacksonville injury attorneys immediately so that we can preserve and fight for your rights.
Workers’ Rights Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
If you are not a seaman, you are likely entitled to recover compensation and medical benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
This is a federal compensation statute administered by the United States Department of Labor. The LHWCA (or Longshore Act) provides a schedule for payment of compensation benefits that tend to be more generous than Florida’s workers’ compensation system.
Still, many claims are denied, or benefits are terminated before workers can recover compensation.
The Longshore Act requires the employer and its insurance company to pay attorney’s fees to the injured worker who is successful in recovering additional benefits.
Oftentimes, seamen and maritime workers have additional claims for damages, including:
- Vessel Negligence under Section 905(b) of the Longshore Act.
- Maintenance and Cure.
- General negligence against non-employers.
- Death on the High Seas Act.
Having a qualified maritime attorney on your side will ensure that you’re pursuing the correct claims and are recovering the full range of damages needed to compensate you for your work accident.
Workers’ Rights Under State Workers’ Compensation Laws
As you can see from the information above, there are several federal maritime laws with their own rules for eligibility and obtaining damages.
However, some workers who suffer injury at the Port of Jacksonville might not qualify for remedies under the Jones Act or the LHWCA. For those employees, Florida’s workers’ compensation laws might be their best option for recovery.
If you make a claim for state workers’ compensation benefits, you could be entitled to the following:
- Payment of temporary total disability benefits that typically replace two-thirds of your lost wages when you are receiving rehabilitative treatment and your injury renders you unable to work (the rate of wage replacement can be 80% if you have a certain type of severe injury);
- Coverage for medically necessary healthcare treatments (including mileage reimbursement for the distance you travel to receive care);
- Payment of temporary partial disability benefits when you can work but your healthcare provider orders you to comply with work restrictions;
- Payment of permanent total disability benefits when your injury has left you with a permanent impairment that keeps you from working; and
- Death benefits, which cover funeral expenses, educational benefits for a surviving spouse, and compensation to dependents of a deceased employee.
Many employers in Florida must provide workers’ compensation to their employees. So, seeking workers’ compensation benefits might give you the best chance of finding legal relief after an on-the-job injury when the LHWCA and the Jones Act aren’t viable options.
Our Port of Jacksonville injury lawyers can help make sure you receive all the benefits you deserve.
Recreational Boating Injuries
North Florida has numerous opportunities for recreational boating. The St. Johns River (and its tributaries), Jacksonville Beach, and the Intracoastal are hot spots for fishing, boating, charters, yachting, and personal watercraft activity.
The State of Florida leads the nation in boat ownership and also has the highest rate of water-related accidents, injuries, and deaths.
Oftentimes, recreational boating injuries present a complicated set of issues that need to be resolved. These issues range from locating adequate insurance to cover damages to proving up damages and negligence or misconduct.
Proving Negligence After Suffering a Boating or Shipping Injury
Many civil lawsuits are based on the at-fault party’s negligence at the time of the injury. To prove negligence, you have to establish the following four elements:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care,
- The at-fault party failed to fulfill the duty of care they owed you,
- The at-fault party’s failure caused your injury, and
- The injury you suffered resulted in damages.
Proving these elements might require an understanding of boating and premise liability laws, among others.
Proving these elements might also require you to present witness testimony, healthcare records, receipts, photographs, and incident reports.
We have been successfully representing injured plaintiffs for years, and we know how to obtain the best evidence and present the best arguments to clinch victories for our clients.
Remedies Available in a Civil Suit
If you can establish a right to file a civil lawsuit against whoever hurt you in an accident on a water vessel, on a dock, or in the water, you have access to more damages than are available in some workers’ compensation claims. Civil damages can include:
- Economic damages to pay your past, present, and future financial losses related to the accident, including wage loss, lost earning capacity, the cost of property repair or replacement, and medical expenses;
- Noneconomic damages to cover your suffering and your pain and other intangible injuries; and
- Punitive damages to address a defendant’s intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
You may have to initiate your claim for damages with a defendant’s insurance company, and that insurance company is likely to downplay your losses whenever it can.
Also, you cannot recover punitive damages unless you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional.
Clear and convincing evidence is a high standard that is best handled by a knowledgeable attorney. Having a skilled advocate is crucial to maximizing your recovery in a lawsuit.
Call Johns Law Group to Discuss Your Jacksonville Maritime Case
The Jacksonville maritime attorneys at Johns Law Group are experienced in assisting injured maritime workers, seamen, and others in personal injury claims involving maritime accidents. We are one of the top Port of Jacksonville injury law firms in Florida.
Our attorneys have advanced degrees in the field of maritime law, along with combined decades of experience handling maritime law matters.