In the U.S alone, maritime industries employ more than 400,000 seamen across the nation. Naval workers may find employment in many fields such as marine terminals, fishing, commercial diving, marine transportation, etc. Although these professions greatly benefit the economy and aid the transportation of goods and services, they can be significantly hazardous.
Injured Maritime Workers: Your Rights Beyond Workers' Compensation
Working in the maritime industry can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Every day these maritime workers are faced with harsh working conditions and potential risks of a severe accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these workers face a higher risk of injury, illness, and fatality than the average worker in the U.S.
Negligence Under the Jones Act
The Jones Act is a federal law that provides injured seamen with the right to sue their employers for negligence. To win your case, you will need to prove that your employer was at fault for the accident. Common examples of employer negligence include:
Failing to provide a safe work environment.
Failing to train employees properly.
Failing to maintain the vessel.
The Jones Act: What Types of Compensation are Available?
If you are injured while working in the maritime industry, you may be entitled to more than just workers' compensation benefits. Federal law provides injured seamen with three different types of compensation.
Maintenance and Cure
When a seaman is injured while working, maritime employers have a duty to provide care for them. This includes providing them with maintenance (room and board) and cure (medical expenses). Maintenance can consist of day-to-today expenses such as the seamen's utilities, rent, auto insurance, property taxes, etc. Cure refers to the injured seaman's medical expenses; the obligation to pay for maintenance and cure continues until the seaman reaches a point of maximum medical improvement.
When a maritime accident occurs, one of the first things examined is whether the ship was seaworthy at the time of the incident. This term is defined under maritime law as a ship whose hull, equipment, and crew are reasonably adequate in design, maintenance, and character to perform their intended functions in the ship's operation. A vessel can be deemed unseaworthy if it does not provide the seaman with safe and appropriate appliances to perform his job duties and if it fails to provide the seaman with a reasonably safe environment in which to work.
Contact Jones Act Claims Attorneys in Paducah
Katz Law has nearly 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured river workers. If you have been hurt while working on the river, our goal is to get you the benefits you are entitled to.
If you are a maritime worker who has been injured in a river-related accident, contact us today at (270) 778-0020 to schedule a free case consultation.