As is the case in other cities with large ports, seamen in Jacksonville are at frequent risk for maritime accidents and injuries while working. Fortunately, maritime workers can count on our Jacksonville maritime lawyer to help them protect their rights.
The Jacksonville Port Authority
Situated in the northeastern portion of Florida along the St. John’s River, Jacksonville is a prime spot for a host of maritime services and activities. With one of the largest ports in the nation, Jacksonville provides employment to numerous maritime workers.
The Port of Jacksonville, also known as JAXPORT, is the newest of the United States’ major ports and the third largest in Florida, following the Port of Tampa and Port Everglades. Located in the mouth of the St. John’s River, the port operates three public marine terminals and one cruise ship terminal near the city of Jacksonville.
JAXPORT handles millions of tons of cargo each year. It handles a wide range of vessels and cargoes, including container ships, recreational boats, tankers, car carriers and bulk freighters. The port has a labor force of 845,000 jobs, and is integrated into rail and trucking industries.
Maritime Accidents and Injuries
As mentioned earlier, Jacksonville is home to some of the most busiest maritime activities in the nation, and without proper safety precautions and well-maintained equipment, accidents and injuries are bound to happen. The most common types of Jacksonville maritime accidents include:
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Crane and winch accidents
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Burns from flammable materials
- Mooring line accidents
- Exposure to corrosive materials
- Exposure to asbestos, especially on older ships and buildings
- Fires aboard ships or in port buildings
Cargo and Container Accidents
Transporting goods is an invisible process for many, but at JAXPORT, thousands of stevedores, longshoremen, and other workers are loading and unloading containers to and from vessels, moving them on trucks and getting them to the stores where shoppers buy products. Loading and unloading multi-ton containers full of cargo is a demanding and dangerous job, and accidents occur frequently in large ports such as Jacksonville. These accidents are usually caused by:
- Equipment Failure
- Poor or nonexistent safety procedures
- Unseaworthy vessels
- Equipment not properly maintained or repaired
- Negligence by employers
- Hull breaches
- Poor staff training
- Failure to follow government regulations
- Vessel not designed or equipped properly
Onshore Accidents and Injuries
Maritime workers often suffer injuries when heavy objects, such as steel pipes or wooden crates, fall from one deck of a ship to another. They can also suffer injuries if an object drops due to a crane’s hoist breaking mid-lift. They can also be struck by machinery being used by careless or poorly trained operators.
Victims of maritime accidents suffer serious injuries that can cause permanent disability or death. Common injuries caused by maritime accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Fractured or broken bones
- Spine injuries
- Burn injuries
- Chemical poisoning
It’s important to remember to report all injuries, regardless of how minor they seem. In addition, seek immediate medical treatment, even if you feel fine. This provides proof in the event a claim for disability is disputed.
Aside from filling out an accident and injury report, never sign any other paperwork without first speaking to a Jacksonville maritime lawyer. This is especially important if you have any questions or concerns regarding the benefits and compensation you are eligible for. A maritime lawyer can help you explore maritime laws and your options.
Contact a Jacksonville Maritime Lawyer
Seaman have legal rights under general maritime law that protects them in the event they are injured on the job as a result of employer negligence. If you are suffering an injury, it is important to speak to a Jacksonville maritime lawyer in order to understand what benefits and compensation you may qualify for.
All seamen are eligible for maintenance and cure benefits. However, you may also have certain benefits under additional laws if your condition is the result of an unseaworthy vessel and/or employer negligence.