Imagine the challengers of operating top or side handlers onboard a cargo vessel. You must be constantly aware of everything around you. From the containers you may accidentally strike while moving a load to the pedestrians that are always hustling and bustling around ships of all sizes, you could easily strike someone or something and cause a major accident.
While this seems like a lot of stress on the operator of a handler, it also means that anyone working on a cargo ship is going to face a lot of threats. Workers who are on foot or in smaller (or even larger) vehicles are also at risk for accidents.
Does this mean that people working on cargo vessels should accept such risks? No. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has all kinds of safety standards in place to protect everyone in the maritime cargo-handling industry, but accidents can and do happen.
If you were a worker who was somehow injured in a top/side handler accident, you may not have been at fault for the incident. You may have stayed out of a designated traffic lane, you may have tried to maintain eye contact with operators, and you may have been very careful about stepping out from stacks, and yet you were injured in an accident.
The next step is to consider if negligence somehow played a role in the accident. Was there someone without proper training doing work that led to the accident? What about supervision? Were workers being supervised according to safety standards? What about gear? Were all of the different sirens, alerts, and lights on the vehicles working properly? Perhaps gear had not been inspected for a long time or kept in workable order?
There are many more ways that you could uncover negligence that may have led to the accident. Of course, you may be unable to pick apart the incident because you are recovering from injury or you are the surviving dependents of someone killed in the incident. Naturally, this means you will need professional help if you are to prove negligence and get the compensation you are owed.
The maritime laws provide longshore workers and offshore workers with opportunities to pursue claims for compensation when they suffer injury, disability or loss because of negligence. The key is to determine what sort of negligence was at work and then prove it. This is when a maritime lawyer becomes your best ally. They are going to have the knowledge and background in the various ways that any top/side handler accidents might occur, who may be to blame, and how to proceed.
Who can you pursue for compensation?
The owner of a vessel, the employer, or another party can all be required to pay compensation if they are proven to have been negligent. They may have to pay for medical expenses, lost wagers, pain and suffering, disability, and more.
The very first step is to get in touch with an attorney who is experienced in all kinds of maritime law cases. These are unique laws with unique demands, and though they were created to provide workers with a way of being properly compensated after accidents due to negligence, they still need qualified legal expertise to navigate properly. You shouldn’t suffer financially because of an accident that was not your fault, or that of a loved one. The maritime laws are there for you to use to get your rightful compensation, and maritime lawyers are the best way to make successful claims.