If you are battling maritime injuries or illness that occurred while you were on the job, you may have many questions and concerns about what to do next. Do I qualify for benefits? How do I support my family while I recover? What if I was intentionally harmed? Do I need a lawyer in order to get compensation for a maritime injury?
At Maritime Injury Guide, we want you to have as much information as possible so you can get the benefits and compensation that you need and deserve. We have compiled a list of commonly asked questions with general answers that may help guide you. Of course, it is best to contact us directly to find out the details about your case and options.
Frequently Asked Questions about Maritime Injuries
Take a look at these frequently asked questions about maritime injuries.
How is Maritime Law Different from Workers’ Compensation Law?
Maritime law is very different from workers’ compensation law. The only real similarity between the two is the fact that both offer compensation to injured employees. Workers’ compensation laws only cover land-based employees, however. Maritime laws like the Jones Act offer protections specific to maritime workers.
How is Maritime Law Different from Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law is quite broad and has general requirements for plaintiffs. These requirements are fairly standard, no matter what type of personal injury case you are filing. Maritime law, on the other hand, has much more specific requirements. For example, in order to qualify for benefits under the Jones Act, you must be classified as a seaman.
Maritime law also encompasses multiple laws, including the Jones Act, Death on the High Seas Act, Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and general maritime laws.
What Laws Protect Maritime Workers?
Different maritime laws offer protections and benefits for maritime workers. The protections or compensation provided depends on the worker, where the injury happened and the details of the accident or incident. Generally, maritime laws that protect workers include:
- Maintenance and Cure – Maintenance and cure is a type of benefits designed to help cover daily living expenses while you get medical care and heal. Your employer is responsible for any injuries or illnesses that occur on the job. Most maritime workers qualify for maintenance and cure benefits.
- The Jones Act – Injured seamen must prove that their injuries are the result of negligence in order to qualify for protections under the Jones Act. That means you must prove that your employer played a role in you becoming injured.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) – The LHWCA provides compensation to maritime workers who suffer injury while on or around navigable waters. That includes on ships, docks and piers. Workers unloading cargo, repairing a ship, working on a ship or working on a dock may qualify.
- Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) – The DOHSA applies to any maritime worker who is injured in an accident occurring at least three miles from U.S. shores or territories. The DOHSA provides death benefits in cases where a worker’s death is caused by a wrongful act or neglect. DOHSA claims are filed by a surviving spouse, child, dependant or representative.
What are the Most Common Types of Maritime Injury?
The maritime industry presents unique challenges for workers. Accidents and injuries are often the result of the environment, working conditions or the level of training and skill of those onboard vessels. The most common types of maritime injury include:
- Falls overboard
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective or malfunctioning equipment
- Chemical burns
- Exposure to toxic fumes
- Fires or explosions
- Repetitive use injuries
Do I Qualify as a Seaman?
Per the Jones Act, in order to qualify as a seaman, you must:
- Have a significant connection to a vessel or fleet that is considerable in nature and duration
- Be employed on a vessel in navigable waters
- Contribute to the function or mission of the vessel
That does not mean that you must be a ship captain or crew member in order to qualify. You may also qualify as a seaman if you work on a crane barge, on an offshore rig, or on river vessels.
What Sort of Damages do Seamen Qualify For?
Under the Jones Act, a qualified seaman may recover damages for the following:
- Maintenance and cure
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
I’ve Been Injured While Working Offshore. What Should I Do?
After any maritime injury, the first thing you should do is get medical attention. Your employer may recommend a doctor, or you can choose one of your own. If you cannot afford to see a doctor, contact a maritime lawyer. A lawyer can help you get medical care.
There are time limits for filing a maritime injury claim, so it is important to document your injury and take action quickly. If you miss this time limit, called the statute of limitations, then you may be unable to take action in your case.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Claim for Maritime Injuries?
If you suffer maritime injuries, you have a lot on your plate. And you may find that you have more questions than answers as you attempt to recover. Working with a maritime lawyer is helpful for many reasons:
- Maritime lawyers specialize in maritime injury cases.
- A maritime lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies or employers to reach a favorable agreement.
- If your case cannot be settled, a maritime lawyer can help you find out if you have grounds to file a lawsuit.
- Maritime lawyers know how to prove negligence if necessary.
- A maritime lawyer will make sure that your legal rights are protected.
- A maritime lawyer will make sure that you get the maximum compensation available.
Ultimately, working with a maritime lawyer can help alleviate some stress you may experience while attempting to recover from maritime injuries.
Contact Maritime Injury Guide for Help
At Maritime Injury Guide, we are dedicated to helping injured maritime workers recover the benefits and compensation that they deserve. Maritime injuries are traumatic and can uproot your life and stability. Fortunately, you are not alone. Contact Maritime Injury Guide to get help with your injury case.