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Today’s U.S. maritime law is based on very old laws and traditions. It is a very complicated area of the law, and can even be confusing for seasoned attorneys. That is why if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a maritime accident you need the help of an experienced maritime attorney.
Injured Maritime Workers
Maritime work is dangerous work and carries a very high risk of serious injury and death. There are two main avenues of compensation for injured maritime workers:
There are some very important differences between the two and you may need the help of an experienced maritime law attorney just to figure out which one applies to you.
The Jones Act covers workers who are classified as “seamen.” Under the Jones Act you can receive very basic benefits such as maintenance and cure without having to prove fault. You can also sue for substantial compensation for your injuries, but you will have to prove fault.
LHWCA does not require you to prove fault, but does not provide as much compensation as the Jones Act. LHWCA applies to maritime workers who are not considered seamen. This includes, but is not limited to dock workers, ship builder, and others in the industry who do not normally work out at sea.
Loved one of maritime workers who died from their injuries can claim compensation as well. If your loved one dies from injures that were incurred at least three nautical miles from shore, you may have a claim under the Death on the High Seas Act. In other cases, you may be able to sue for wrongful death under the Jones Act.
Unseaworthiness is the basis for a large portion of maritime claims. Vessel owners have a duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. Failure to do so is considered negligence under the law.
Unseaworthiness refers to far more than just the likelihood of a vessel to sink due to age, damage, or disrepair. It can include:
- Incompetent or dangerous crew members
- Unsafe food preparation
- Inadequate food supplies
- Slippery surfaces
- Lack of safety equipment, such as firefighting or life-saving equipment
- Understaffed vessel
- Poor policies and procedures
- Dangerous equipment
- Death on the High Seas Act
- Maintenance and Cure
- Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC at 228-374-5151 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 or contact us online. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.