Does It Matter How The Injury Happened?
No - Workers' Compensation is a form of no-fault insurance, which means that it is irrelevant who was responsible for your work injury. Even if it was your fault, you are entitled to these benefits. And even if your employer caused your injury through their negligence, they are usually protected from a lawsuit.
However, there are situations where injured dock or cargo workers have a case for a lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are an option if a third party (anyone other than your employer or a co-worker) played a significant role in your injury through some form of negligence.
One common example of a negligent third party is the owner of a vessel which has been deemed unseaworthy. A seaworthy vessel is legally required to meet the following criteria:
- Built and outfitted for its intended use
- Safe working environment
- Safe for lodging
- Has appropriate and working safety gear and equipment
- Has a trained and competent crew
However, unseaworthy claims fall under the Jones Act, rather than worker's compensation. You must be an official crew member to qualify for a Jones Act Claim. Determining your eligibility can be a bit complicated, so it's best to ask for guidance from an experienced work injury lawyer.
Do I Need A Lawyer's Help To Claim Benefits?
Work injury cases involving sea vessels, loading docks, and cargo are fairly complex. While you're permitted to file benefits on your own, you may find the process confusing. Additionally, many injured workers get their claims denied for a variety of reasons. Hiring a work injury lawyer greatly increases your odds of receiving the full benefits you're entitled to.
At Monheit Law, we offer free consultations where we can determine the best course of action for your specific situation. And if you're worried about our fees, don't be - we only ask for payment after you've received your benefits. If we don't help you earn compensation, then you owe us nothing.