Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, can help oil rig workers, longshoremen, shipbuilders and others who work offshore get compensated for medical expenses and lost wages when they are injured, regardless of fault. In the U.S., maritime law consists of numerous laws that are aimed at regulating the offshore industry. But if you want the best outcome, you will need a maritime injury and Jones Act lawyer on your side.
Admiralty law grants injured maritime workers compensation for the costs of living and for medical care, regardless of fault. This is typically known as “maintenance and cure” to those in the industry. This allows injured workers to get the help they need instead of missing work, losing income and incurring medical expenses.
Typically, workers can receive maintenance and cure even if the injury was their fault. There are exceptions – if the injury was sustained in a drunken brawl with a co-worker, for instance.
In addition to the Jones Act, there are other important pieces of legislation that address the rights of maritime workers.
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The Marine Merchant Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act, protects the rights of an injured maritime worker to sue the employer and have his or her day in court. It also allows the loved ones of someone who dies on the job to seek damages. Under the law, a case must be brought within three years of the injury.
General admiralty law entitles an injured worker to have his or her medical expenses and cost of living paid. But the Jones Act can provide for additional compensation if the owner of the vessel was negligent in a way that caused the injury.
The Jones Act applies to most employees who work at sea, including:
The Jones Act does not apply to those who work at port, such as shipbuilders, mechanics and those who work at harbors and on docks. But these employees are not without rights under maritime law. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act can protect these workers.
The job of a Jones Act and maritime lawyer is to make sure that you aren’t shortchanged when you or a loved one is hurt while working at sea or at port. If you’ve been hurt on the job, you deserve everything you are entitled to under the law and no less.
Sometimes, it requires an attorney to make sure that happens.
The Jones Act establishes a requirement that vessels be “seaworthy” – meaning free of reasonably foreseeable dangers. It is the duty of an employer to maintain a seaworthy boat. No one should have to work on an unseaworthy vessel.
To seek compensation for suffering, you must prove that your employer failed to live up to the standards set by law. This typically requires hiring a maritime injury lawyer to handle your Jones Act lawsuit.
Here are just a few examples of negligence that can lead to injury and a successful Jones Act case:
Compensation that can be collected under the Jones Act includes:
If a maritime worker dies on the job, his or her family may also seek compensation for funeral expenses and the loss of future income.
People who are injured on a cruise ship also have a right to seek compensation if the company that owns the vessel is at fault. The cruise ship company has what’s called a “duty of reasonable care,” which means the company must keep the ship free of reasonable hazards that could injure a worker or passenger. This could include anything from a slippery floor to a broken staircase.
If you are injured while on a cruise ship, you should speak to a maritime attorney about whether you are eligible to seek compensation.
It is the legal duty of an employer to provide employees with a reasonable safe work place. There are inherent dangers when it comes to working at sea – but that doesn’t mean injuries couldn’t have been prevented if the company lived up to its responsibility.
No one deserves to work in a hazardous workplace. Employers must keep machinery and equipment up to date, be sure employees are qualified for the tasks they perform and be sure the workplace is free of foreseeable hazards – like broken stairway rails or busted safety gear.
There are several things you should do if hurt on the job while on an oil rig, ship or any other vessel.
Obviously, some of these may be impossible if the injury is particularly severe. But any attorney will tell you it’s best to err on the side of too much evidence rather than too little.
Maritime law is a complex legal field that calls for attorneys who are diligent, meticulous and committed. At Pierce | Skrabanek we are those lawyers. We’re prepared to help workers on oil rigs, shipping vessels, barges and ports from Texas and the Gulf Coast get the compensation that will help them and their families after they are hurt on the job.
A consultation with a maritime injury attorney is always free. There is no obligation on your part. Call us today at (832) 690-7200 or email us for a free case evaluation to have your questions answered and learn your legal options.