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May 6th, 2011

Houston Port Worker Uninjured after Maritime Fall Accident

A female Houston port worker had a lucky escape, after she fell inside the hull of a vessel last week.  The maritime accident  occurred in the Port of Houston.  The woman apparently fell into the cargo hold.  Emergency rescue personnel, including firefighters from the Houston Fire Department were summoned to the scene.   A total of 15 fire rescue units and firefighters were engaged in extricating the woman from the cargo hold.

The woman was finally secured in a basket, and lifted out of the cargo hold.  She was conscious and alert at the time.  She has not suffered any life-threatening injuries, but was rushed to the hospital for a medical evaluation.

Port workers typically include dockworkers, longshoreman and crane operators.  These workers do not qualify as seamen under the Jones Act.  For them, there’s a separate section of maritime law called the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.  This section of maritime law deals extensively with injury compensation to maritime workers who do not qualify as Jones Act seamen.  Typically, port and harbor workers who do not meet the rigid criteria for Jones Act seamen may be meet the eligibility criteria under the LHWCA.

However, not all workers inside a port or Harbor will be included under the LHWCA.  For instance, clerical staff and others who are not engaged in marine-based work may not be eligible for compensation under the LHWCA.  These workers may be eligible under the Workers’ Compensation Laws of the state.

Payouts under the LHWCA typically tend to be much lower than payouts under the Jones Act.  However, these workers do not have to prove negligence to be eligible for compensation.  Compensation for injuries is typically calculated on the basis of the workers’ wages.

The maritime attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured longshoremen, dockworkers and other maritime workers who may be eligible for compensation under the LHWCA.

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