Situated along the Patapsco River in Maryland, Baltimore is a thriving maritime city with the second largest seaport in the mid-atlantic area of the United States, The Port of Baltimore. Serving two-thirds of the eastern seaboard, the Port of Baltimore handles an array of maritime services, including ro-ro facilities, bulk cargo facilities, commercial fishing, foreign import and export, and more. In addition, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, once the leading port for immigrants to the United States, is a historic seaport with a large manufacturing center. With the sheer amount of work that happens at the Port of Baltimore, accidents are an unfortunate part of the maritime business. Yet, a myriad of these accidents are caused by improper training, poor work conditions, and working aboard unseaworthy vessels. When accidents and injuries due to negligence occur, employers may be liable for the damages that result.
Examples of Maritime Accidents and Injuries in Baltimore
A devastating 2004 accident that took place at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor made national news after several people were killed. According to reports, Captain Frances Deppner was told to bring his water taxi to shore. As he was turning his boat around, a strong gust of wind overturned the vessel, knocking 25 people into an extremely cold, 50-foot-deep channel of water. Out of the 25 people overboard, 5 died and 3 went missing. Several years after the accident and a plethora of investigations, people still question whether the captain told everyone aboard to wear life jackets, whether there was a defect or maintenance issue with the boat, and why the warning to come ashore wasn’t given earlier.
Accidents, as well as poor working conditions, also occur often and without reason at the Port of Baltimore. In fact in late 2013, longshore workers at the port went on strike due to unsafe working conditions and low wages. Some of the poor conditions cited consisted of unusually long work hours in both dangerously high and low temperatures. Consequently, one worker stated he had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning as well as injuries to his back, knees, and neck.
The injuries that the Baltimore longshoreman experienced, unfortunately, has happened to a multitude of maritime workers. Some of the most common injuries that surface from maritime accidents include:
- Limb injuries
- Chemical burns and poisoning
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
When Employer Negligence Causes Injuries
If you’ve been injured due to an unseaworthy vessel, unsafe working conditions, poor safety training, or any other form of negligence, it’s important to remember that you’re protected under general maritime law and may be eligible for compensation for lost wages, injuries, and more. Although all seamen are eligible for maintenance and cure benefits regardless of what causes injuries, the Jones Act and other laws protect seamen when injuries are caused by the negligence of another party.
For additional resources on the Jones Act and what you may be entitled to, refer to our article Jones Act Lawyer.