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Accident at Pasadena (TX) Shipping Terminal Leaves Worker Dead

Accident at Pasadena (TX) Shipping Terminal Leaves Worker Dead

KXXV-TV has reported that a worker at the Bayport Container Terminal in the Houston suburb of Pasadena. The details of the accident are not yet available, and the following reconstruction is based on news media coverage of the accident.

On the morning of Friday, February 21st an unidentified worker at the Bayport Container Terminal was operating a truck known as a “mule” to deliver loaded shipping containers from a warehouse to dockside where the containers were being loaded by a large crane onto a container ship. For reasons that are unknown, the crane apparently began lifting the container and its transport truck rather than just the container itself. The mechanical stress of the additional weight apparently caused the combined load to fall from an unknown height onto the dock adjacent to the container ship, killing the truck’s driver.

Although the exact cause of this accident is currently being investigated by state and federal workplace safety authorities, it is likely that the dead worker’s family will be eligible for benefits under a special type of workers’ compensation known as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a special workers’ compensation program that applies to those who are actively involved in loading and unloading cargo onto ships or certain other types of transportation that is closely related to maritime (seagoing) commerce or whose jobs are in direct support of maritime commerce. Unlike traditional workers’ compensation insurance, which as administered by each state individually, benefits provided through the LHWCA are administered through private insurers who are supervised by the U. S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs

In general, the benefits available through the LHWCA program are more generous than those provided through state-administered workers’ compensation. The more notable differences between state workers’ compensation and the LHWCA are summarized below.

  • Most state workers’ compensation weekly temporary total disability payment (provided to replace a portion of the income of a worker who is temporarily unable to work) rarely exceeds 60% of a worker’s average weekly wages. Under the LHWCA, a worker’s weekly wage benefit is 2/3 (67%) of the worker’s wages for the current pay period.

  • State workers’ compensation does not allow payment for permanent partial disability, whereas the LHWCA allows a worker to receive such payment.

  • Under the LHWCA, an injured worker can receive payment for non-economic damages such as “pain and suffering” as well as “punitive” damages against an employer whose negligence contributed to a worker’s injury.

  • Except for a very limited set of circumstances, state workers’ compensation law prohibits an injured worker from suing his or her employer. The LHWCA allows such lawsuits, but any claim for LHWCA benefits or any LHWCA lawsuit must be filed within 1 year of the date on which the injury occurred.

Contacting a LHWCA law firm

Eligibility for LHWCA benefits is usually established by a worker’s job duties and the location where those duties are performed. However, any worker who is injured while working in a warehouse or facility where cargo is routinely loaded, unloaded or stored should contact a workers’ compensation/on-the-job injury lawyer who has experience in managing LHWCA claims. One such maritime worker injury lawyer can be found at The Doan Law Firm.

When you contact The Doan Law Firm, there is never a charge of any kind to discuss the circumstances of a maritime worker’s injury case or to review the legal options that may be available to injured workers and their families and our no-charge policy does not require you to hire our law firm to represent you in court. Should you decide that you would like us to act as your legal counsel in your LHWCA case, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement that we are prepared to win for you.

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