Dock Worker Injury

Dock workers are a key part of ensuring smooth operations at Houston’s many docks and ports. With numerous terminals and thousands of ships each year passing through the area’s ports and shipping channels, dock workers are tasked with loading and unloading cargo, making necessary repairs, and performing other important duties.

For those reasons, dock workers are exposed to substantial risk in the course of their jobs. A dock worker, longshoreman, or stevedore may be exposed to hazardous chemicals while unloading cargo, trip over a piece of rotted wood on the dock, fall into the water, or sustain any number of accidental injuries. These accidents may have tragic, long-lasting consequences if a maritime employer fails to provide or ensure a safe working environment.

Accordingly, it’s important to work with an experienced maritime accident lawyer after sustaining a dockside injury. With decades of experience under our belts, we at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have a distinguished record of helping dock workers who have been seriously injured on the job.

Common Texas Dock Worker Accidents

Dock workers are exposed to numerous risks in the course of their jobs, whether due to inclement weather, poor working conditions, hazardous cargo, or faulty equipment. As a result, dock worker accidents are common and potentially devastating.

Common accidents experienced by dock workers include:

  • Slipping on wet surfaces
  • Fires or explosions
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals or hazardous fumes
  • Falling into nearby water and drowning

Common Texas Dock Worker Injuries

Given the dangerous nature of dock work and the common types of accidents that accompany this line of employment, dock and harbor workers may suffer serious or fatal injuries when something goes wrong on the job.

Some of the common injuries that may be sustained by port or dock workers include:

  • Mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Amputated or crushed limbs
  • Severe burns
  • Spinal cord damage or paralysis
  • Hypothermia
  • Drowning
  • Slipped, ruptured, herniated, or bulging discs
  • Disfiguring lacerations

These injuries may result in enormous medical costs and a long, difficult recovery. Contact our professional Houston maritime injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C., to learn how we can help recover the compensation to which you may be entitled.

Damages For Dock Worker Injuries

The effects of your accident and injuries may have you feeling at the end of your financial rope, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Numerous laws exist to help injured maritime workers obtain compensation if employers did not provide a safe work environment, or if a third party’s negligence caused your injuries.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident or injury, you may be able to recover compensation under one or more of the following laws:

The Jones Act

The Jones Act is a federal law that allows an employee to sue their employer after accidents at sea. The law enables an injured seaman to sue his or her employer to recover compensation for past and future:

  • Medical costs
  • Physical pain
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical limitations
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of earning capacity

Given that the work takes place on shore and in port, most dock workers cannot receive compensation under the Jones Act. However, other factors must be considered to determine whether an employee can file a Jones Act claim. Those factors include how much time the employee typically spends at sea, their type of employment, and where the injury took place. A skilled Houston maritime injury attorney can explain whether an injured maritime worker may be able to pursue a case under the Jones Act.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) allows employees injured on navigable waters or while working dockside in vessel-related activities to receive compensation for injuries sustained on the job. Dock employees who do not qualify under the Jones Act or under Texas workers’ compensation laws are generally covered by the LHWCA.

In order to receive compensation under LHWCA, dock or harbor workers must meet the criteria of two tests.

  • Status Test — An employee can meet the criteria of the status test when at least some of the worker’s job duties involve maritime work.
  • Situs Test — An employee can meet the criteria of the situs test when the employee typically works at a location on, near, or around the water, except in an office or as an administrator

Employees who meet these criteria may receive:

  • Disability payments
  • Medical treatment
  • Transportation
  • Rehabilitation costs

When a third party other than your employer caused your injuries, you may be able to sue the third party for negligence under the LHWCA. The act further allows the family members of a dock worker killed on the job to sue a third party for wrongful death damages.

Maintenance and Cure

Maintenance and cure is a legal doctrine that provides assistance to a seaman covered under the Jones Act who is hurt on the job. An injured seaman may be able to receive the following benefits until he or she reaches maximum medical improvement:

  • Maintenance — This includes compensation for daily living expenses, such as food, housing costs, and necessary utilities.
  • Cure — This includes payments for medical costs associated with an injury, such as emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgery, or other medical treatments.

How Our Texas Maritime Injury Lawyers Can Help

Because of the different laws that may apply in a dockside injury case, your best chance at receiving the compensation that can help you recover from your injuries and move forward with your life is with the help of a team of skilled Houston maritime injury lawyers.

The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has over 27 years of experience helping injured maritime to obtain the compensation they deserve, including numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for maritime plaintiffs obtained by our lead trial lawyer, Scott Krist. We have a detailed understanding of various federal and Texas laws that may apply to your case and how to build a strong argument to demonstrate why you should be compensated following a serious accident or injury.

We are proud of our work on maritime injury cases throughout Texas and the Gulf Coast, and for representing dock workers who have been injured on the job through no fault of their own. If you are a dock worker who’s been injured in Texas, call us at or use the contact form below to learn how we can help.