Maritime Injury Rights and Compensation
Consider these two scenarios.
In one, an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico suddenly explodes, throwing workers into the ocean and inflicting burns, broken bones and other serious injuries. In the second, a faulty piece of equipment dumps the contents of a shipping container. A longshoreman falls awkwardly on his arm, and subsequent numbness and pain prevent him from working.
Both scenarios are different, but in one respect they are very much the same. In both cases, the employees are likely entitled under federal law to compensation from their employer for their medical expenses and lost wages.
Oil rig workers, longshoremen and other maritime employees have inherently risky jobs. But knowing the risks of your profession does not prohibit you from seeking the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Compensation May Be Your Legal Right
Several federal laws apply to those who make their living at sea or port in the oil and shipping industries, among others. They include:
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides compensation for medical care and lost wages after an injury, regardless of fault.
- The Jones Act, which guarantees a sailor’s right to sue his employer and receive a trial by jury. Under this law, employers may be held legally and financially liable for any injuries that result from the negligence of the company or its employees.
- The Death on the High Seas Act, which grants a spouse, child or other dependent family member the right to seek damages when a seaman is killed on the job.
If you are injured while working at sea, in most situations your employer is legally required compensate you. Knowing your rights is important, but it is only part of the equation. You need an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of maritime law and is willing to fight for you.