Maritime Accidents and Cargo Ships

By Michael Verna on August 05, 2019

Shipping containers on a cargo shipThe legal team at Bowles & Verna LLP are committed to injury victims and grieving loved ones in Walnut Creek, CA. Personal injury and wrongful death attorneys Richard T. Bowles and Michael P. Verna have worked on numerous kinds of accident lawsuits, including those that happen on bodies of water. We can help with boating accident and maritime law cases, offering expert legal counsel and guidance.

For this post on maritime law issues, we’d like to focus on accidents involving cargo ships. Cargo ships are essential for international and interstate commerce, and working on or around these massive vessels can be extremely dangerous.

The Dangers of Shifting Cargo at Sea

When a cargo ship is at sea, there’s a risk that cargo may shift. This may be the result of bad weather and rough seas, or it might be the result of poorly secured cargo. Whatever the case, the cargo can strike or crush people on the ship, resulting in serious injuries. This is especially important when large shipping containers are involved.

Possibility of Capsizing and Sinking

Capsizing or sinking is the most dangerous situation that can happen while a cargo ship is at sea. This could be caused by shifting cargo such as multiple shipping containers, which throws off the balance and weight distribution on a ship. This might also be caused by damage to the hull or difficult waters.

Hazards Loading and Unloading Ship Cargo

We’ve noted hazards while the ship is at sea, but there are also dangers to consider when a cargo ship is docked. Loading and unloading cargo can pose a number of hazards. Crane accidents, forklift accidents, and miscommunication can lead to workers being crushed, struck, or otherwise injured.

What Causes Cargo Ship Accidents

Some of the most common causes of cargo ship accidents our Walnut Creek attorneys have noticed include:

  • Inexperienced Workers/Crew - Safely working on a cargo ship or as a dockworker can require years of experience. Not everyone working such jobs has that experience, however. When working with an inexperienced crew, there’s a higher risk of accidents occurring.
  • Insufficient Training - Related to the above, certain actions while working on the docks or a cargo ship require specific training. This could include operation of a crane or forklift or safety training. If workers lack such training, the potential for a serious accident increases.
  • Mechanical Issues - Problems with a forklift, crane, or the cargo ship itself could lead to serious dangers. Any technical issues with the ship could make the journey by water extremely dangerous.
  • Poor Weather and Difficult Waters - Even with a properly trained crew and workers, inclement weather and rough seas can be a major challenge. These situations can even prove deadly, compounded if any of the above situations are also present.

Holding Negligent Parties Accountable

Negligence may have played a role in the cargo ship accident and any injuries sustained. In such cases, the ship may have been unsafe, the working conditions on the dock might have been dangerous, or otherwise deadly conditions may have been present on or around the cargo ship.

Our lawyers can go over the evidence of your case and determine if someone should be held legally liable for the injuries or deaths the resulted from a cargo ship accident.

Speak with Our Team of Attorneys

For more information about boating accidents and maritime law matters, we encourage you to contact our skilled injury accidents lawyers. Bowles & Verna LLP can be reached by phone in Walnut Creek at (925) 935-3300.

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Walnut Creek Office

2121 N California Blvd
Ste 875
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

More Info Directions (925) 935-3300