Who Is Liable In Maritime Construction Accident Cases?
It would be a lot like New York state compensation. If the employer has Longshore Harbor Workers Coverage, then their worker would be entitled to benefits from them, or really their insurance company for lost wages and medical benefits. The flipside is that the worker would not be able to sue them because if they got Longshore benefits, they would not be able to sue their employer.
On the other hand, anybody other than the employer who had violated the statutory duty, such as the New York state Labor Laws, could be held liable. Likewise, the owner of any equipment such as a barge, other ships or other things that were dangerous and that had caused an injury, could also be held liable so long as they were not the same employer.
Are There Ever Circumstances Where The Claim Is Not Submitted?
There are sometimes situations where employers do not submit the claim, and more often than not the reason is because they are simply not aware they are required to submit it to the OWCP and they are not aware that there are penalties for that sort of thing.
We often see that New York state based employers who are doing some maritime projects typically may not be aware that they needed a “Longshore Endorsement”. In those cases, the Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act would allow the worker to bring a direct action against the employer for any injury they sustained if they did not have the proper insurance to provide them with the proper longshore benefits they were entitled to.
Can Third Parties Also Be Held Liable For An Injury?
By definition, it would be a third party case if the person who got sued was someone other than the worker’s employer. It would be like an administrative claim for some type of benefits.
How Important Are Qualified Experts And Witnesses In These Cases?
This would depend on the case although in general, maritime practices are not really well-understood by people who have not been on the water and certainly construction practices are not very well understood by people who are not involved in construction.
Understanding how an accident happened and what the general industry standards are would certainly help us prove that the defendants were careless or negligent because they did not adhere to or they did not perform in accordance with the industry standards.
There may be cases involving a saw where the saw was unguarded, or a case where the guard was removed so people could work faster or other types of accidents involving ladders where the ladder collapsed. Also maritime engineers are useful in proving dangerous conditions such as flooring which lacks non-skid or rusted galvanized metal on barges.
It would be critical to have experts in some of these cases like the Staten Island barge explosion where it had to be ascertained exactly what caused the explosion. In this case they obviously needed experts because only an expert would be able to determine the cause and origin of the fire and from there, they would have to work backwards to show who was at fault for it.
Our New York maritime construction accident lawyers constantly work with experts to determine the cause, origin and fault of any accident which resulted in personal injury or death.
What Happens If The Company Or Companies Deny Liability?
It is not uncommon for companies to try to escape liability or avoid their responsibility in causing a construction worker to become injured or even killed in the line of duty. The first step is to basically gather the evidence and make sure there was enough evidence to prove the employer was in fact responsible, so that a lawsuit could be filed. Our New York accident lawyers would caution any construction worker to be careful and read what they sign right after an accident. It is not uncommon for foremen and supervisors to try and protect themselves from blame by putting things that are not true in an accident report, such as that there was nothing broken or that the accident was the fault o the injured worker. Unfortunately, this can come back later to haunt the injured worker.
Our Manhattan and New York maritime construction accident lawyers have extensive experience in working with experts, gathering evidence and aggressively conducting discovery to get to the truth, and even if the company initially stated they were not responsible or they tried to deny responsibility, our experienced personal injury attorneys are usually able to accumulate or gather the evidence that show the company was actually responsible.
Do Most People Accept The Initial Settlement Offer?
The first offer would typically never be the best offer so the injured worker needs an experienced accident attorney to guide them regarding what the proper value of their case is. Our New York personal injury lawyers have decades of experience in handling all types of construction accident cases and we certainly know what the injuries are worth.
Obviously, the assessment of a settlement involves an analysis of the injured construction worker’s lost wages, if they had a reduced earning capacity and also how strong the proof was for assigning liability. Obviously most people would be more inclined to take a reduced settlement if there was only a 50 percent chance they might win, as opposed to someone who has a slam-dunk case.
Do Insurance Companies Look For Gaps In Care Or Reasons To Find The Case Invalid?
Insurance companies basically try and find any reason, regardless of whether or not it is legitimate to try to avoid paying out benefits. The business they are in is just like that and they are there to try to save money for themselves whereas they do not care for the person’s wellbeing whatsoever.
They would certainly use things like gaps in treatment and anything they else they could seize upon, to try to come up with some reason not to pay.
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