Maritime workers including seamen, longshoremen and offshore oil and gas workers face a high risk of on-the-job injury. As a result, there are several special legal remedies available to help ensure that injured seamen get appropriate compensation and care following injury. If you are an injured maritime worker, a qualified lawyer can help you determine and protect your legal rights.
Maintenance and Cure
Offshore oilfield workers, seamen, crewmen, commercial fishermen, and other persons working aboard vessels have special rights under federal maritime law known as maintenance and cure. When injured, these workers have rights to:
- Maintenance, daily room and board expenses until maximum medical recovery is reached;
- Cure, authorization of and payment of medical expenses; and
- Wages for the balance of their contracted employment.
Federal maritime law covers these rights rather than state workers’ compensation laws. But like workers’ compensation claims, it does not matter who is at fault for an accident aboard ship. If an injury occurs, maintenance and cure rights are triggered automatically.
Members of the vessel’s crew, referred to as seamen, are covered under The Jones Act, which provides a direct cause of action against the seaman’s employer for its negligence and/or the negligence of its employees. Seamen include workers on barges, fishing vessels, crew boats, freighters, tankers, and supply boats.
Damages recoverable may include past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income, and past and future pain and suffering. If the injured seaman was also negligent, that fact can reduce the amount of the potential recovery.
Maritime workers who are not seamen may be eligible for compensation under The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
If anyone working on a vessel is injured because of unseaworthy and unsafe conditions such as unprotected work places, foreign substances on decks, and/or insufficient crew or training, the vessel and employer may be liable. This is an area of strict liability; there is no need to prove that the owner of the ship knew about the dangerous condition.
Seek Legal Advice Now
Most maritime claims have a shorter statute of limitations than other personal injury cases. Therefore, it is important to see a qualified Miami or Florida Keys maritime lawyer as soon as practical after an injury to help you determine and protect your legal rights. Our Miami maritime workers injury lawyers have over thirty years of representing passengers and crew injured on ships.
Read our FAQ about personal injury or call us today!
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