Maritime occupations can be extremely dangerous, whether you work on or near the water. These jobs can put you at risk for severe, potentially life-threatening injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury while working in a maritime occupation, our maritime lawyers might be able to pursue compensation on your behalf. We have a thorough understanding of maritime laws, including the rights of workers and how to build a strong case for why you should be entitled to compensation. These laws are complex and difficult to interpret on your own, which is why you could benefit from working with a licensed attorney.
Schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation with our attorneys today to discuss your legal options. We can analyze your situation, determine if you have grounds for a case and if it is in your best interest to pursue it. Our lawyers do not charge for representing you unless you are able to obtain the compensation you deserve. We understand how difficult it can be to deal with a maritime injury and are committed to fighting for your rights during every stage of the legal process.
Maritime Injury Cases We Handle
If you suffered a personal injury while working on or near any of the following vessels or structures, our maritime lawyers may be able to help you pursue compensation:
- Commercial fishing boats
- Drill ships
- Cargo/supply ships
- Oil tankers
- Jack-up rigs
- Diving support craft
- Charter boats
- Floating cranes
- Offshore rigs, such as oil rigs
- Docks and ports
- Cruise ships
Our attorneys should be able to pursue a case if your injury occurred when the vessel or structure was on or near navigable waters, such as:
We handle cases involving injuries caused by a variety of factors, such as:
- Crashing into other vessels
- Poor maintenance of machinery
- Hiring unqualified personnel
- Using a boat that is not seaworthy
- Fires and explosions, such as those on oil rigs
- Defective products or equipment
- Poor training
- Taking a vessel on the water in bad weather
- Poor supervision
- Failure to follow safety procedures in dangerous situations, such as handling toxic chemicals
- Slippery surfaces
If you work in a maritime occupation and suffered an injury, contact a maritime attorney today for a free consultation. We can review all of your legal options and assist you throughout the legal process.
Call Roden Law today at 1-844-RESULTS.
Why Do I Need a Maritime Lawyer?
There are many benefits of working with an attorney on a maritime injury case. One of the main advantages is we have extensive knowledge of the laws governing your case.
Your case is governed by one of three laws, depending on your specific job and where the injury occurred:
- Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA)
- Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
- Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act
When you meet with one of our skilled maritime lawyers, he or she will analyze the circumstances of your injury to determine if it is covered by any of these three laws. We know what workers are covered by these laws, what we need to prove to build a case, the forms of compensation available and how long we have to file a case.
Interpreting these laws on your own is extremely difficult, particularly when you are dealing with a severe injury. At Roden Law, we understand what people are going through after a serious injury and are prepared to help with every step of the legal process.
Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
The LHWCA is a federal law that applies to certain maritime workers who suffer an injury on navigable waters or adjoining areas that are used for unloading or loading a vessel or building or repairing vessels, such as:
The law covers employees in traditional maritime jobs, such as:
- Ship repairmen
- Harbor construction workers
- Ship breakers
You might also be covered by the LHWCA if you are engaged in transporting goods from a ship, such as driving a truck that transports these goods.
Employees Excluded from LHWCA
The LHWCA excludes a variety of employees, including:
- Seamen covered by the Jones Act
- Employees of suppliers, transports or vendors engaged in work normally performed by employees of a different employer
- Anyone tasked with loading, unloading or repairing any vessel under eighteen tons
- Employees tasked with building any recreational vessel under 65 feet in length
- Employees covered by state workers' compensation laws
- Employees injured because they were intoxicated
- Employees injured because of willful or intentional actions
- Employees in clerical, secretarial, security or data processing jobs
- Employees of restaurants, museums, clubs or camps
- Employees at marinas who are not doing construction, replacement or expansion of the marina
What Do You Have to Prove in an LHWCA Claim?
LHWCA cases are somewhat similar to workers' compensation cases because you do not have to prove your injury was caused by negligence. We simply need to establish that you meet the LHWCA's definition of a maritime worker and that the injury occurred in a place covered by this law.
Types of Compensation
Our maritime lawyers are prepared to pursue all forms of compensation you are entitled under the LHWCA, such as:
- Medical costs – This includes all medical costs you incur for treating your injuries, such as the cost of surgeries, medical testing, prescription drugs and stays at the hospital.
- Temporary total disability – Some injuries are so severe that you are temporarily unable to do any work. Workers who suffer these injuries may be entitled to temporary total disability, which is equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage for as long as you are totally disabled.
- Temporary partial disability – Many maritime workers suffer injuries that temporarily force them to do a different job because they cannot perform the same job they did before the injury. When this happens, they may be entitled to two-thirds of lost earning capacity.
- Permanent total disability – This is similar to temporary total disability benefits but for workers who have an injury that is not expected to improve. These workers will receive the benefit for the rest of their lives.
- Permanent partial disability – This is like temporary partial disability, except the limitations caused by your injury are permanent. That means you have to permanently reduce your hours or job responsibilities. You could receive 66 and two-thirds percent of your average weekly wage or two-thirds of your lost earning capacity, depending on your injury.
- Vocational rehabilitation – You may need to work in a different field after your injury because of your physical or mental limitations. Vocation rehabilitation provides job placement assistance, skills testing and accommodations required for returning to your job or for moving into a job in a different field because of limitations from your injury.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a claim. If you miss the deadline, you lose your opportunity to pursue compensation.
For LHWCA claims, the statute of limitations is one year from the date of your injury. If you did not know about the injury when it happened, the one-year clock will not start running until the date you knew or are reasonably expected to have known about the injury.
This does not give our maritime lawyers much time to pursue a case on your behalf. That is why it is so important to contact us as soon as possible after a maritime accident or injury.
The Jones Act
This federal law applies to seamen, which is defined as any employee who does at least 30 percent or more of his or her work as a crewmember or captain on a vessel in navigation. Seamen must meet two qualifications to be considered crewmembers:
- The seaman has duties related to the function or mission of the vessel
- The seaman has a connection to the vessel or an identifiable group of such vessels
A variety of employees could meet these qualifications, including:
An example of an employee that does not meet these qualifications is a member of the vessel's administrative support staff.
The Jones Act covers injuries that occur on any type of boat or vessel, as long as the vessel is in navigation, which means the vessel must be:
- Capable of moving
- On waters that can be navigated
- In operation
The boat does not have to be in the water at the time of your injury to be covered by the Jones Act. The vessel just needs to be capable of moving under its own power. This means the boat could be on blocks or tied up at a dock.
Building a Jones Act Case
When our maritime attorneys are building a case, we will collect evidence to attempt to prove two things:
- You were injured at work - In some cases, all we need is the accident report that was filed right after you were injured. We may also collect pictures of your injury or photos from the scene, along with statements from witnesses.
- Your injury was partially caused by someone else's negligence – This means your injury would not have occurred if not for another party breaching a standard of care, which is a legal requirement to use the same level of reasonable care that another individual would if he or she was in a similar type of situation. Unlike a personal injury case, our attorneys do not need to prove negligence was the main cause of your injury, just that negligence played a role. This means negligence could have been just one percent of the cause for your injury.
One way to prove negligence in a Jones Act case is to establish that the vessel where the injury occurred was unseaworthy. An unseaworthy vessel is one that does not provide a worker with safe equipment to do his or her work or a safe place to work. This means our attorneys only need to show the area where the employee was working was unsafe, instead of proving the entire vessel was unsafe.
Compensation Under the Jones Act
Our maritime attorneys will pursue all forms of compensation you are entitled under the Jones Act, which could include:
- Medical expenses – If you have a valid claim, you could recover compensation for past, current and future medical expenses for treating your injury.
- Lost earnings – We may be able to help you recover compensation for earnings you lost when you were unable to work. If your injury causes permanent limitations, you could obtain compensation for future lost earnings and lost benefits, like contributions to a retirement account or vacation time.
- Pain and suffering – This is compensation for the physical pain you experience, along with emotional anguish, such as depression. The amount you receive will be based on the severity of your injuries and other factors.
- Lost enjoyment of life – If our maritime lawyers find that your injury hurts your ability to participate in leisure activities you used to enjoy, you may be able to obtain compensation. This includes hobbies and other recreational activities.
- Punitive damages – This is reserved for situations where we are able to prove your employer willfully and recklessly violated the standard of care when your injury occurred.
Deadline for Filing Claims
There is a three-year statute of limitations for lawsuits filed under the Jones Act. The three-year clock starts to run on the date of your injury. If we can prove you did not discover the injury right when it happened, we may have three years from the date you discovered the injury to file a lawsuit.
Our maritime lawyers can carefully review your situation to determine when the statute of limitations started for your claim.
Contact a reputable maritime attorney right away. Call 1-844-RESULTS.
Death on the High Seas Act
If you lost a loved one because of a wrongful act, neglect or default that occurred more than three miles from U.S. shores, you may be able to file a lawsuit under the Death on the High Seas Act. This law gives the deceased's spouse, parents, children or dependent relatives the right to pursue compensation.
Compensation for a DOHSA Claim
Our maritime lawyers may be able to help you pursue the following forms of compensation in a DOHSA lawsuit:
- Lost financial support – This provides compensation for what the deceased would have earned if he or she had not died.
- Lost services – This is compensation for not having the deceased at home to do things around the house. This is based on the cost of hiring someone to do these the things the deceased did.
- Loss of nurture, guidance, care and instruction – This is compensation for the loss of emotional guidance and instruction the deceased would have provided, such as help with making life decisions.
- Loss of inheritance – This is different from lost financial support because it is compensation for the financial assets your loved would have had if he or she did not die.
- Funeral expenses –You may be entitled to reasonable funeral expenses for your loved one.
There are situations when the deceased's own negligence contributed to the injury that caused his or her death. DOHSA has a provision that accounts for this, and it says that the victim's loved ones can still recover compensation.
However, the total compensation award will be reduced by the deceased's percentage of fault. In other words, an award of $200,000 will be reduced to $100,000 if your loved one was 50 percent responsible.
Statute of Limitations for DOHSA
Similar to the Jones Act, the statute of limitations for DOHSA claims is three years, and the statute begins to run on the date of your loved one's death.
Contact a Maritime Lawyer Right Now
Maritime occupations can be incredibly dangerous, which is why laws were created to help workers recover compensation.
Unfortunately, these laws are complicated and difficult to interpret unless you have experience. The maritime attorneys at Roden Law have the experience and knowledge you need to pursue compensation for your maritime injury.
You can count on our attorneys to thoroughly investigate your situation, including the severity of your injuries so we know how much your case is worth.