Maritime work is arguably the most dangerous work industry in the United States. Maritime workers face regular hazards that employees in other occupations never experience. It is true that responsible employers and a well-trained crew create a safer work environment for maritime employees, but even a single mistake can lead to an offshore disaster. Unfortunately, maritime accident injuries are often catastrophic and devastating.
If you have been injured in a maritime accident, your right to compensation might be governed by the Jones Act or other maritime laws. Attorneys at CaseyGerry represent seamen and other maritime workers who have been injured on the job. Maritime law is complicated, and recovering compensation for offshore injuries should only be handled by attorneys who know the laws and have experience representing clients in maritime injury matters.
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, provides protections to seamen who have been injured on the job. In general, maritime workers who spend at least 30% of their employment on seafaring vessels qualify as seamen under the Jones Act. If you fail to meet the definition of a seaman, the Jones Act will not apply to your case, but you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries under another maritime law.
The Jones Act outlines benefits for injured seamen based on accident circumstances. Injured seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits, regardless of who was responsible for the accident. In some cases, injured workers may seek additional compensation when an employer or coworker caused the accident.
To qualify for maintenance and cure benefits, seamen only need to prove that they were injured while working. Maintenance benefits are compensation for daily living expenses, such as mortgage payments, utility expenses, and groceries. Cure benefits include medical expenses related to maritime injuries, such as medication expenses, medical bills, and transportation costs for medical appointments.
The Jones Act also provides additional compensation to injured workers who can prove that their accident was at least partially caused by their employer or a coworker’s negligence. Proving negligence under the Jones Act does not require that the other person’s negligence was the sole cause or even the main cause of your injuries.
If you can prove that your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may qualify for compensation for the following:
Other laws that may apply to maritime injury accidents are the Death on the High Seas Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
The Death on the High Seas Act provides a legal remedy for those who have lost a loved one in a fatal maritime accident. This Act applies in cases where the accident, caused by someone other than the decedent, occurred three or more miles from the shoreline. Recoverable compensation for surviving family members may include funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of services, and loss of inheritance.
The Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act covers accidents and injuries suffered by employees in traditional maritime work, such as harbor workers, longshore workers, and shipbuilders. Seamen are specifically excluded from recovering compensation under this Act. Benefits are similar to regular workers’ compensation and may include disability benefits, medical expenses, and vocational rehabilitation.
Maritime injuries range in severity, depending on the type of accident that occurred. Common injuries include head and brain injuries, spinal cord damage, neck and back injuries, and broken bones. Other injuries such as burns, smoke inhalation, and diseases from fire and exposure to hazardous materials are also common. The value of your injury claim depends on the extent and severity of your injuries. In general, claim values are higher for more extensive injuries.
Medical and rehabilitation expenses for maritime injuries are often significant, and when injuries are permanent, long-term medical care may be required. The impact of these expenses, disability accommodations, and other injury-related costs can be compounded when permanent injuries impair your ability to return to work.
We know that maritime injuries can be stressful and overwhelming for injured workers and their families, but when you have experienced and aggressive legal representation, the financial recovery process is more manageable. Your attorney will handle all of the filing requirements, settlement negotiations, and case preparation.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a maritime accident, contact an attorney at CaseyGerry to schedule a free consultation. Maritime laws are complex, and claims are subject to strict filing deadlines. If you miss the deadline to file your case, you may lose your right to compensation for your injuries and damages. Our maritime injury attorneys will discuss your accident and potential legal recovery options.