The nature of on-job injuries is quite delicate under any circumstances. In many cases, where you have been the victim of a workplace injury, you need to get help from a specialized accidents attorney. But not all jobs are similar, and not all workplace injuries are alike. Among the most particular job related accidents you will find those that happen in the maritime industry.
What are maritime workers’ legal options and rights after a personal injury on the job? Find out a few things below.
What kind of maritime worker are you?
Legally, there are two types of maritime workers: seamen and people who work in water related environments- including everyone else who works near the sea or the ocean, and performing related activities. This is important to keep in mind as the kind of compensation an injured maritime worker can get largely depends on which group they belong to.
A seaman is generally an employee who spends the better part of their working time as a crew member on a ship or boat or any kind of maritime vessel, basically on any vehicles that is part of the navigation process.
Which type of compensation do maritime workers get?
Any seasoned accidents attorney will tell you that, unlike a majority of employees from other industries, seamen are not entitled to regular workers’ compensation benefits, under state or federal laws. But they are entitled to a few federal laws regulated compensation types.
What is a seaman entitled to do if he has suffered on job injuries?
1) A seaman can sue their employer for negligence; this is generally done under a federal rule called the Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, a maritime employer must provide the employee with a safe place to work. They should use care to maintain the vessel in conformity with international laws. The Jones Act requirements are generally very strict and almost any safe condition on a ship can lead to liability from the employer. Ask your accidents attorney and they will tell it is basically one of the easiest jobs, to prove negligence in a seaman’s injury case, much simpler than standard car accident cases, for instance. This is because under the Jones Act, the injured seaman will only need to prove the employer’s negligence played a very small part in the injuries.
2) A seaman can also sue the ship owner on which the accident occurred, for damages under the federal maritime doctrine of unseaworthiness. Under maritime law, a seaworthy vessel is a ship whose hull, equipment and crew are reasonably adequate in to perform their intended functions in the operation of the ship. This doesn’t mean an unseaworthy ship cannot sail, but it can mean the employer did not provide the employee with suitable equipment with which to perform on board. This has nothing to do with negligence, but rather with a vessel being not fit for its intended purpose, in which case the owner is still liable.
3) If injured, a seaman is entitled to receiving maintenance and cure as well as medical treatment, no matter of whose fault was it in the accident. In legal terms, this is called maintenance and cure and actually refers to a very old aspect of maritime law that requires a maritime employer to provide care for injured seamen regardless of whose fault the injury was. According to main regulations, maintenance means the room and board of the injured seaman while they are recovering from an injury. Maintenance includes such expenses as the seaman’s rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and food, but not things like telephone, internet, or car payments.
There are many more aspects related to maritime workers’ injury compensation. If you have been injured, or a member of your family works as a seaman and they have been hurt on the job, the best thing to do is get immediate help from a reputable accidents attorney who can help you get the most compensation.