Maritime jobs involve working in a seaport, at the harbor, as a seaman, offshore in oil drilling rigs, or along waterways and bodies of water. Your employer must take all precautions to ensure your safety and health. The law offers compensation if you are injured as you discharge your duties. But what if you incurred an injury while on duty? How can a Dallas maritime injury lawyer help you? Maritime law encompasses laws meant to safeguard both the vessel owner or company and the workers in case of injury or wrongful death. It outlines compensation as maintenance and cure if you have sustained injuries at your workplace. However, it has also placed a limit on how much the vessel owner or company owner can pay for your injuries, depending on the circumstances. You need to prove that they were negligent or that the compensation received is inadequate to enable you to receive full benefits. An experienced Dallas maritime injury lawyer can assist.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, protects offshore and maritime workers injured at the workplace and limits the vessels that could ply between American ports. The law also gave maritime workers added rights to ensure their lives continued even after their recovery from injuries. When making a claim under the Jones Act, you must prove that you are a seaman, that you suffered an injury in the course of your duty (or a loved one did so if they are deceased), and that the employer was negligent, which wholly or partly contributed to the accident. While the first two requirements are a formality, proving that the employer was negligent is tough. You need a lawyer who understands the Jones Act, basic safety practices in maritime activities, and signs of negligence.
Common Types of Maritime Accidents
Several types of maritime accidents may occur depending on the nature of the work, whether on the high seas or offshore. Here are common accidents.
- Dredge accidents: Maritime workers who work in dredges may slip and fall or drown.
- Helicopter transport accidents: Helicopters transporting workers to offshore working sites have had accidents in the past. While poor weather is sometimes to blame, other times, the issue is poor maintenance and equipment failure.
- Tugboat accidents: Tugboats provide several services at sea. However, they may stall and collide with larger vessels, capsize, break down, or get consumed in fires, injuring the people on board.
- Jack-up rigs: The high-powered moving machines in rigs may cause accidents. There may also be fires and explosions, and some structures may collapse on those working at these offshore sites.
Maintenance and Cure
Employers of workers injured during maritime activities need to pay for maintenance and cure according to The Jones Act. This is the payment to cover living expenses and medical assistance during recovery. The law requires these amounts to be paid, even if the employer was not directly responsible for the accident. Additionally, the employer must pay this amount until the worker makes a full recovery. Unfortunately, some employers are unwilling to pay the full amount, while others pay too low to sustain the injured workers. An experienced maritime injury lawyer can help you receive full compensation so that you have enough money to cater to your needs.