Situated on the Puget Sound in Washington, the city of Tacoma handles a variety of activities in the maritime service sector. The Port of Tacoma sits on 2,400 acres which is used for shipping, international trade, cargo services, oil refining, and more. In fact, the port is so busy that it’s been named one of the top ten largest container ports in North America. Although the Port of Tacoma provides lucrative incomes to over 40,000 workers in Pierce County alone, maritime accidents and injuries are frequent. As with other large maritime ports across the nation, a good majority of injuries and accidents stem from sheer negligence and carelessness on an employer, maintenance company, or vessel owner’s part.
Crane Accidents in Tacoma
A major concern in the Tacoma maritime industry is frequent crane accidents. In most incidents, accidents and injuries involving cranes could have been prevented with the proper repair and maintenance prior to allowing workers around the machinery. For example, in March of 2013, a Tacoma longshoreman was killed when a faulty crane fell on him as he was working. Another longshoremen who was working alongside the victim on the container cranes was severely injured. A California company, Pacific Crane Maintenance Co., was found negligent for the accident and was consequently fined over $11,000 for violating six worker acts. The victim was identified as 46-year old Jeff Surber, and the cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma. Surber was a member of the Tacoma Longshore Local 23.
Another crane accident occurred in March of 2013 when a longshoreman was injured while working on a container crane on the Husky Terminal at the Port of Tacoma. As the worker was trying to descend, he fell down a slippery stairwell and landed on the ship’s deck. Although his injuries were not life-threatening, he was airlifted from the ship for immediate medical treatment.
Other Common Maritime Accidents in Tacoma
In addition to crane injuries and accidents, other common forms of maritime accidents in Tacoma include:
- Conveyor belt accidents
- Offshore oil rig accidents
- Tugboat accidents
- Falling overboard
- Cargo hauling accidents
- Chemical burns
- Electrical injuries
- Fisherman accidents
- Winch accidents
When maritime accidents occur, the results can be devastating. Some seamen are lucky enough to suffer only minor injuries, but an overwhelming amount of maritime accidents result in severe medical complications, including:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Hypothermia and frostbite
- Severe burns
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck injury
- Internal injuries
Legal Resources for Injured Seamen in Tacoma
If you’ve been injured in a maritime accident while on the job, you’re legally entitled to maintenance and cure benefits regardless of how the accident happened. However, if negligence from another party resulted in your injuries, you are also entitled to benefits under the Jones Act and general maritime law. It’s important to understand your legal rights, especially before signing any paperwork that will risk your chances of obtaining the compensation you’re entitled to.
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