Injured On A Pier
Docks and piers are water based structures designed to give boats a safe place to load or unload passengers and cargo. Docks and piers are naturally high traffic areas with lots of machinery, people, and vehicles, so the potential for accidents and injuries is significant. The risk of accident applies to ship passengers, port workers, and seamen alike. Many people are severely injured or killed at piers every year.
Piers Can Be Dangerous
People believe that accidents are more likely to happen while on the open water rather than while they are on dry land. However, the dangers of piers and docks rival that of the open water. Several different types of accidents can occur on a pier.
Heavy Machinery on Piers
As previously stated, heavy machinery is standard on docks and piers to aid in unloading cargo from boats or to assist in boat maintenance. These massive pieces of machinery pose a significant threat to untrained or inattentive workers, as well as passengers and seamen who are only passing through the port. The risk is higher if these machines are not adequately maintained.
While cars could be considered heavy machinery, they are worth mentioning on their own. Because ports are often bustling with people moving in and out, cars pose a greater threat than in typical driving conditions. Car accidents near ports vary from light fender benders to full-on collisions. It is not uncommon for cars to hit pedestrians in these high traffic areas, either.
There are a few other ways a person could become injured at a pier. A few examples are:
- It is possible for the wiring in the machines to break or otherwise become faulty. Faulty wiring is a great danger on its own but is more so at a pier because of the amount of water present.
- Docks can also be dangerous. Docks can be defective due to poor construction or simply age. When an accident occurs due to a broken or faulty dock or pier, the result could be a mere slip. However, depending on the wharf, it could be worse.
- Boats must occasionally refuel, and that process happens at docks and piers. While unlikely, the presence of fuel at docks creates the potential for explosions and fire.
- Sometimes, hazardous materials need to be loaded and unloaded off ships. Due to the nature of the materials, one misstep can be disastrous for everyone near the chemicals.
- Cranes are possible the most dangerous piece of equipment at a pier. They lift massive amounts of weight all through the day, and a moment of absentmindedness can be a catastrophe. The crane’s cargo clipping someone is often enough to cause serious injury.
- Piers often have cargo crates stacked on them. These boxes contain items that the boats are expected to ship to other piers and docks. The boxes are heavy, and under the wrong circumstance could cause severe damage to anyone.
- Ports are like high traffic areas on a typical road. Boats can collide with each other and the surrounding terrain. Boats can also collide with the pier itself.
Maritime Injuries and Negligence
Accidents can occur anywhere at any time. While it is possible that accidents can just happen, it is more commonly a result of someone’s mistake or poor judgment. The legal system refers to that as negligence. When a party is found to be negligent in court after an accident has occurred, they will be expected to pay for the resulting damages to the victim. Pier and dock accidents are no exception.
Who is at fault in an injury on a pier?
Negligence is not often a simple argument to make. What is perceived as negligence will differ from case to case, so there is no absolute rule. It often takes a federal court to point who is at fault in an accident. For example, say a worker accidentally misuses a piece of equipment and is injured. If the pier worker can prove that his or her employer did not properly teach him how to use the equipment, then the employer will be found negligent and will be forced to pay for the worker’s injuries, missed wages, and possibly even attorney fees. The employer is decided to be negligent because it was his or her responsibility to train the employee.
Accusing a person of negligence after an accident can be difficult, and proving their negligence even more so. It is important to seek legal assistance so that you or your loved ones receive the compensation they deserve. Contact our personal injury law office and let one of our experienced maritime lawyers in Mobile fight for you and your family.