U.S. Virgin Islands Longshoreman Injury Lawyer

Virgin Islands dockworker injury attorney

Attorneys Representing Injured Harbor Workers in St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas

There are a wide variety of boats and ships that navigate the waters surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands, and certain laws apply when passengers or crew members are injured on these vessels. However, longshore and harbor workers fall into a separate category, since they often work both on and off the water. When these workers are injured while on the job, legal representation by a skilled attorney is essential.

At Colianni & Colianni, LLC, our personal injury lawyers have been practicing in the Virgin Islands for more than 50 years. We understand the various laws that apply to different types of workers, and we can provide you with the legal help you need to ensure that you are properly compensated for the injuries you have suffered.

Injury Compensation for Longshore and Harbor Workers

Workers who work on or near the water without being members of a vessel's crew include those who load or unload cargo from ships, mechanics who repair boats and ships, shipbuilders and ship-breakers, and people who work on docks or piers. These workers are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). This law provides compensation for any injuries which occur while performing maritime work that took place on or near "navigable water." That is, a worker must be involved in work that involves boats, ships, water, or marine transport in some way, and they must have been working either on the water, directly next to the water, or in a shipyard, dry dock, shipping terminal, or loading and unloading area within a close distance to the shore.

In many cases, a LHWCA claim will not be sufficient to cover the damages experienced by harbor workers and their families. In addition to a workers' compensation claim, an injured longshoreman may be able to pursue multiple types of third-party personal injury claims. These include:

  • A negligence claim under general maritime law (also known as admiralty law). An injured party may pursue compensation from the owner of a ship who did not meet their duty of care to protect the safety of those who board their vessel. 
  • A statutory liability claim against the owner of a ship, the master of a boat, or the vessel itself. A person may pursue compensation for injuries which occurred because inspection standards or manning requirements were not met or because the vessel had a known defect.
  • A statutory liability claim against the master, pilot, mate, or engineer of a vessel. A person may pursue compensation for injuries that resulted from a crew's negligence, purposeful misconduct, or disregard of navigation laws.

In these cases, the damages an injured longshore worker may be able to recover include past and future medical and rehabilitation expenses, loss of earning capacity, permanent disability and/or disfigurement, loss of society to their family, and pain and suffering, including emotional injuries. A negligent party may also be required to pay punitive damages.

Contact a U.S. Virgin Islands Harbor Worker Injury Lawyer

When working around ships or on the water, injuries can be catastrophic, and injured workers should be sure to explore all of their options for receiving compensation that will address the harm they have suffered. At Colianni & Colianni, LLC, we can provide you with the representation you need in these matters, ensuring that you will have the financial resources you deserve during your recovery. Contact our office today at 340-719-1766 to set up your free initial consultation.

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