Personal injuries suffered by maritime on the job can be serious, sometimes even debilitating and life-altering. If you’ve suffered a maritime injury while working, you may have lots of questions as to whether you may be able to obtain compensation and seek medical care. The following are some of the most common questions we receive regarding maritime injuries.
A: The Jones Act is a federal law that was established to provide a way for injured seamen to receive compensation if they have been injured on the job. It allows you to file a maritime lawsuit against your employer or a third party whose negligent actions directly caused your injuries. It also allows you to seek proper medical care for the injuries you suffered.
This law provides narrowly tailored protections, and you need to meet all of the qualifications under the Jones Act in order to establish liability against your employer and be able to receive compensation. Generally, to recover, you need to be a maritime worker on navigable waters who contributes to at least 30 percent of the work on the vessel. The term “injured seaman” under the Act includes various workers, such as fishermen, stewards, cooks, mates, and engineers, among others.
A: The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is another federal law, which offers protections to some other injured workers who may not be protected under the Jones Act, such as longshoremen, harbor workers, and shipbuilders or repairmen, among others. It provides work injury benefits that are generally more generous than those provided under state workers’ compensation laws. In order to recover compensation under the LHWCA, your job duties will need to qualify, and your job needs to take place on, next to, or near navigable waters.
A: The legal doctrine of maintenance and cure is another avenue for providing assistance to injured maritime workers, and it specifies the obligations that employers owe to their maritime employees. Commercial fishermen and merchant seamen are two categories of workers who are typically entitled to maintenance and cure protections from their employers. Maintenance refers to a daily stipend paid to injured employees while they are recovering from their injuries, while cure refers to the employer’s obligation to provide necessary medical care when a maritime employee is injured. As with all other maritime law concepts, maintenance and cure can be complex, and the help of an experienced lawyer can be invaluable to navigating this area of law.
A: The statute of limitations on maritime injuries can vary. Under the Jones Act, it generally is three years, which means that your claim must be filed within three years of your accident, or else you risk being barred by the statute of limitations and being unable to bring your claim in court. Under the LHWCA, you must notify your employer of your injuries within 30 days and file your claim within one year. It is important to note, however, that statutes of limitations do vary depending on the types of claims you are planning to bring and your specific jurisdiction and venue. You should always consult with a knowledgeable maritime injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss important deadlines for your claim.
A: A maritime injury claim can quickly become difficult, lengthy, and complex to handle on your own. These types of cases typically involve complicated issues of liability and damages, which will require you to establish to a jury not only that you have suffered significant injuries, but also that your injuries were directly caused by the responsible parties. An experienced maritime attorney can investigate the facts of your case, research the various relevant laws involved, accurately assess your damages, and build a strong case based on the evidence.
In maritime injury cases, it is common to deal with several different parties and their insurance companies whose goal, of course, will be to minimize any payout to you as much as possible. The experienced attorneys at Johnson Garcia can negotiate on your behalf with the responsible parties and their insurers, which can help even the playing field.
With over 35 years of combined experience, we have helped many clients with maritime injuries recover the compensation they need to get on with their lives. We will negotiate on your behalf towards a favorable settlement, and even when the other party or their insurer are not negotiating fairly, we can help file a lawsuit on your behalf and take your case to trial, if needed. If you have suffered a serious maritime injury, contact the lawyers at Johnson Garcia for a free consultation.