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Mooring Line Accidents

Mooring operations pose dangers to crew members as offshore crew members work to secure a vessel to a permanent structure. Moorings are permanent structures to which ships are attached and prevent a boat from moving in the water. Moorings vary in shape, size, and design. Types of mooring lines include piers, quays, jetties, wharves, anchor buoys, and mooring buoys. Moorings can be onshore, like piers, and offshore, like anchors. Indeed, anchor moorings affix a ship to the sea floor and are located offshore.

Mooring lines are an essential part of moorings. Mooring lines and connectors attach vessels to onshore mooring fixtures or offshore anchors. Mooring lines can be made of different materials, such as synthetic fiber, wire, and chain, and the type of mooring line used often relates to the depth at which offshore workers moor a vessel. The most typical kind of mooring material is a chain. Since a chain is a heavy material, chain mooring lines are best for long-term mooring in shallow waters. Lighter than chain mooring lines, wire mooring lines are suited for anchors in deeper water. As a lightweight material, synthetic fiber mooring lines are also used in deep water. Chain, wire, and synthetic mooring lines can pose dangers for workers and offshore crew members who moor ships face severe injuries and death risks. Indeed, mooring a ship can be very dangerous for offshore crew members.

Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and California Mooring Line Accident Lawyers

Mooring line accidents can lead to severe or even fatal injuries. If you have sustained injuries as a result of a mooring line accident, you may have a claim for compensation. Thankfully, a skilled maritime accident lawyer at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP can help you obtain compensation for your past and future medical costs, physical pain, physical limitations, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement, and mental anguish.

To have Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP assist you in your case, call 1 (800) 262-8529 to secure an initial consultation. We accept maritime law cases in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and California. Do not settle for less than what your case is worth.


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Mooring Line Accidents

Mooring line accidents are often severe, resulting in significant injuries such as amputations, broken bones, concussions, crush injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, dental injuries, eye injuries, decapitation, and disfigurement. There are two main mooring line accidents: snap-back accidents and rope bites. Both accidents pose significant risks, but snap-back accidents are the most severe. Sometimes, mooring lines fail. When they break, they snap back. The mooring line returns to the ship and hits the snap-back zone, which marks on the ship must indicate. The severed mooring line could hit a worker standing in the snap-back zone. Snap-back accidents are so severe they often result in death. Pulling a mooring line back straight reduces the area of the snap-back zone; coiling a mooring line increases the area of the snap-back zone. Thus, causes of snap-back accidents include:

  • Workers were standing in snap-back zones.
  • Unclear markings of snap-back zones.
  • Turning a mooring line on a roller or board.

Additionally, if a mooring line has significant wear and tear and is in poor condition, it may be more likely to snap back and harm a worker. The second type of mooring line accident is rope bight. Rope bight happens when workers uncoil mooring lines. A mooring line can catch onto part of a worker’s body, harming the worker or yanking the worker overboard. When too many workers are on the deck during mooring, rope bight is more likely to occur. Additionally, workers who lose awareness of the location of a mooring line are more vulnerable to rope bight.


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Longshore And Harbor Workers Compensation Act

Before the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act of 1927, longshoremen and harbor workers could not receive workers’ compensation benefits. The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) applies to land-based workers primarily involved in loading and unloading vessels, providing them with workers’ compensation benefits. Indeed, the Act offers land-based workers who are harmed by mooring lines compensation for their injuries. The Act may encompass longshoremen, harbor workers, dock workers, stevedores, other cargo handlers, truck drivers, crane and heavy equipment operators, shipbuilders, ship breakers, repair workers, and welders. The LHWCA gives land-based marine workers who become disabled due to mooring line accidents compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation. If a land-based worker dies due to a mooring line accident, the worker’s family may bring an LHWCA action on the worker’s behalf. Thus, the LHWCA protects disabled land-based workers and their families.


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Jones Act

Seamen injured in snap-back accidents, rope bite accidents, or other mooring line accidents may bring personal injury claims against their employers. The Jones Act, 45 USC § 30104 expands the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) to seamen. The Jones Act requires that all employers of seamen provide a safe working environment. Under the Jones Act, seamen harmed during their employment may bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employers. To present successful claims under the Jones Act, seamen must report their injuries to their employers within the first seven days. Seamen may allege that their employers were negligent and their employers’ mistakes caused their injuries. Plaintiffs can bring their cases before a judge in either state or federal district court. Generally, maritime law does not provide the right to a jury trial. However, the Jones Act differs, giving plaintiffs the right to a jury trial. The Jones Act entitles injured seamen to recover damages for lost earnings and earning capacity, medical expenses, pain, suffering, and mental distress.


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Additional Resources

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program– Benefits.gov explains who is eligible for the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program and how to apply for benefits.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA): Overview of Workers’ Compensation for Certain Private-Sector Maritime Workers– The Congressional Research Service provides an overview of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program. The Congressional Research Service summarizes the act, explains its history, and explains the kind of benefits workers may receive under the act.


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Mooring Line Accident Attorneys |  Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California

If you’ve suffered a mooring line injury, it’s imperative to consult with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable of maritime laws. With more than two decades of combined experience, our team of skilled maritime lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP have helped hundreds of dock workers and longshoremen who have sustained injuries as a result of mooring line accidents. We will conduct a thorough investigation and work diligently to obtain optimal compensation for your case.

Our skilled mooring line accident lawyers represent clients in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Oregon. To have our team discuss your legal options today over an initial consultation, contact Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP at 1 (800) 262-8529.


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  • The Maritime Law Association of The United States
    The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) was founded in 1899. Its formation was prompted by the organization, some three years earlier, of the International Maritime Committee.
  • Washington State Bar Association
    The Washington State Bar Association operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state's nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals.
  • Oregon State Bar
    The Oregon State Bar is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession.
  • Alaska Bar Association
    The Alaska Bar Association is a mandatory bar association responsible to the Alaska Supreme Court for the admission and discipline process of attorneys for the State of Alaska.