The Port of Miami (or PortMiami) is a prime example of the fast-paced hustle and bustle of the shipping industry.
As the Cargo Gateway of the Americas and the Cruise Capital of the World, the Port of Miami generates $43 billion each year, and it supports 334,500 jobs in South Florida.
If you work or have worked on the docks or the vessels at PortMiami, you probably know that there are countless opportunities for accidents to happen—there’s water, heavy machinery, cargo of all kinds, and people everywhere.
We hope you do not suffer any injuries while working at the port, but if you do, the Port of Miami accident lawyers at Johns Law Group, PLLC, are the right practitioners to handle your claim.
We understand the intricacies of maritime law and have represented hundreds of port workers in Longshoremen Compensation and Jones Act claims.
Common Shipping Accidents
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes that many individuals working at marine terminals or engaged in longshoring could suffer injuries for the following reasons:
- Being struck by machinery, such as container trucks, forklifts, or railcars;
- Slipping and falling, either to the ground or into the water;
- Being struck by falling cargo or equipment that was improperly stored or secured; or
- Falling from collapsing catwalks.
These are only a handful of ways that injuries can occur in and around ports. No matter how you suffered an injury at the Port of Miami, we can help you obtain relief and financial compensation.
Your Legal Rights to Compensation
When an accident occurs while you’re working on a large shipping vessel, in a waterway, or on a dock, identifying your rights can be tricky business.
You may have a claim under the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), Florida’s workers’ compensation system, or civil tort law. Read on for a brief overview of these legal rights and how they might apply to you.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
If you are injured on the job while engaged in “traditional maritime work” such as shipbuilding, ship repair, longshore work, shipbreaking, or harbor construction, you might be entitled to remedies under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). These remedies include:
- Partial wage replacement when your injury renders you unable to work at full capacity,
- Compensation for loss of earning capacity due to permanent impairment, and
- Medical treatment.
Within 30 days after suffering a maritime work injury, you must give your employer written notice of the harm you suffered. This can help ensure that none of your rights to benefits are barred or diminished under the LHWCA.
Not every maritime employee is covered by the LHWCA, and if you do not have coverage under this law, we can help you seek relief under the laws that apply to you.
For instance, if you are a master or member of a crew, you do not have a right to benefits under the LHWCA, but you do have rights under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act
Members of a sea vessel (or seamen) who suffer work-related injuries have the right to sue their employers for damages under the Jones Act.
However, this right under the Jones Act does not apply to aquaculture workers, who can seek relief under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. The Jones Act defines aquaculture employees as employees who:
- Work for a commercial entity that is engaged in harvesting or cultivating aquatic plants and animals,
- Are not required to hold merchant mariner credentials under part F of subtitle II of Title 46 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), and
- Do not hold licenses issued under 46 U.S.C. section 7101(c).
As you can see, concluding whether you are eligible for benefits under this act can be a challenging undertaking. Our Port of Miami accident attorneys at Johns Law Group can help determine your rights under the Jones Act or any other civil or labor laws applicable to your case.
State Workers’ Compensation Claims
If your workplace injury doesn’t fall under the purview of the LHWCA or Jones Act, you might have the option to seek partial wage replacement and medical care under Florida’s workers’ compensation program.
Most employers in Florida must provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees. If an employee wants to make a claim for benefits under this system, they typically must report their injury within 30 days.
Civil Lawsuits for Personal Injuries
In some cases, none of the above-mentioned laws apply to the injury an employee sustained at the Port of Miami.
For instance, you might be excluded from seeking the previously mentioned relief because you aren’t an employee, your injury didn’t arise out of your work, or the nature of your work did not qualify for benefits, among other reasons.
If you are facing one of these exclusions, you might still have the option of seeking relief through a civil lawsuit against a third party, such as:
- An independent contractor,
- An equipment manufacturer,
- A property owner, or
- Another negligent party.
You should immediately speak to us about the details of your accident and the parties involved. We can steer you toward the proper legal actions to take, and we can maximize your damages through negotiation or litigation.
Contact Johns Law Group Right Away
We have advanced knowledge of maritime law, and we focus the entirety of our practice on insurance and maritime issues. We have also won millions on behalf of our clients, and we receive top reviews from the valued clients we represent.
If you face complications after an accident on a dock, in the water, or on a shipping vessel, we hope you will contact us for help. You can reach out to us on our website or call us to set up a free consultation and learn how we can help today.