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Compensation for Injuries Caused by Unseaworthy Vessels

Articles May 26, 2017

Under maritime law, ship owners have a legal responsibility to maintain their vessels in seaworthy condition. This requirement is designed to make sure that workers onboard tankers, freighters, tugboats, barges, supply boats, crew boats and other vessels are not put at risk by dangerous conditions that can – and should – be avoided with proper care. Unfortunately, many vessel owners fail to meet their duties. Unseaworthy conditions are far too common, and too often they leave offshore workers suffering from serious, and sometimes life-changing, injuries. If you were injured as the result of an unseaworthy condition, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation, and it is critical that you stand up for your legal rights. Understanding Your “Unseaworthiness” Claim Unseaworthiness claims are unique from most other types of injury compensation claims because they are subject to the rule of “strict liability.” Under strict liability, a vessel owner is liable for injuries resulting from an unseaworthy condition regardless of whether the owner caused the condition, and even regardless of whether the owner knew the condition existed. If you were injured on a vessel and you can establish that an unseaworthy condition is to blame, the law entitles you to financial compensation. What constitutes an “unseaworthy” condition? The list is actually longer than you might think. Examples of unseaworthy conditions include: Dangerous conditions resulting from inadequate vessel maintenance Inadequate, inexperienced or unsupervised crew Lack of adequate safety equipment, including first aid kits and floatation devices Old tools or equipment that are […]

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How Much Can I Recover for My Barge Accident Injury?

Articles May 24, 2017

If you were injured while working on a barge or tugboat, you may be entitled to financial compensation under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that specifically applies to maritime workers, and it provides injured workers with two ways to seek compensation for their injury-related losses. How Much is Maintenance and Cure? The first is to file a claim for “maintenance and cure” benefits. Under the Jones Act, all qualifying maritime workers are entitled to limited compensation regardless of the cause of their accident. These benefits, known as “maintenance and cure,” are intended to help cover injured barge workers’ medical and daily living expenses. But, the key word here is, “help.” Maintenance and cure benefits are typically in the range of $20 to $40 per day. So, injured workers will usually need to seek an additional source of compensation. How Much Can I Recover for Jones Act Negligence? The second way to seek compensation under the Jones Act is to file a claim based upon your employer’s negligence. If your employer made a mistake that contributed to your accident, even if it was not the direct cause of your injury, the Jones Act states that your employer must provide full compensation for your injury-related losses. What do we mean by “full” compensation? In claims for Jones Act negligence, injured barge workers can seek compensation for: Outstanding medical bills – You are entitled to have all of your current injury-related medical bills paid by your employer. Rehabilitation […]

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What if My Employer Refuses to Pay Me Maintenance and Cure?

Articles May 22, 2017

Under the Jones Act, maintenance and cure are “no-fault” benefits that your employer must pay regardless of whether it was at fault in the accident that caused your injuries. Collecting maintenance and cure benefits is supposed to be easy, but many maritime and offshore employers go to great lengths to try to avoid paying the benefits their employees are rightfully owed. If your employer is refusing to pay maintenance and cure, what should you do? Denied Maintenance and Cure? It’s Time to Speak with a Maritime Attorney Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. In many cases, employers simply bank on the fact that injured employees will not go through the effort to enforce their legal rights. So, they deny payment, and then they wait. If they don’t hear from an attorney, they don’t pay the benefits required by law. If you have been denied maintenance and cure, you need a lawyer on your side. Hiring a lawyer is the only way to get your employer to take your injury seriously, and if you don’t seek legal representation you can expect not to receive the benefits you deserve. What Can a Lawyer Do for You? 1. Force Your Employer to Start Paying Maintenance and Cure When you hire a lawyer, he or she will act as your representative in dealing with your employer and the maritime insurance company Your lawyer will contact your employer, and demand that it begin making maintenance and cure payments immediately. When they know they owe, […]

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What if Maintenance and Cure Isn’t Enough to Cover My Expenses?

Articles May 19, 2017

When you are unable to work as a result of an injury, if you are like most people, you need to find some other way to pay your bills. Your savings will only go but so far, and you’d really rather not spend it on your everyday expenses. So, you start looking for answers, and you find out that you are eligible under the Jones Act to claim “maintenance and cure.” At first, you are relieved. But, then your employer tells you that it won’t cover all of your medical expenses, and you are told that your “maintenance” benefits will only be around $15 to $40 per day. That isn’t even enough to cover the cost of food for your family, let alone your utilities, rent or mortgage, and the costs of your prescriptions and medical care. What can you do? Understanding Your Right to Maintenance and Cure Most maritime employers want to pay as little for their employees’ on-the-job injuries as possible. As a result, some of them will withhold or misrepresent information about employees’ right to medical coverage, and they pay the absolute minimum maintenance daily wage rate that they can get away with under the law. While employees are entitled to full medical coverage for their job-related injuries (for treatment provided by their own doctors), unfortunately, daily maintenance benefits typically are quite low – in the $15 to $40 per day range mentioned above. If your employer is refusing to cover your medical expenses, you may need […]

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Maintenance and Cure – Jones Act Lawyer Answers Your FAQs

Articles May 17, 2017

Were you or your spouse injured while working on a boat, barge or offshore rig? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation in the form of “maintenance and cure.” Maintenance and cure are benefits under the Jones Act, a federal law that provides special protections to injured maritime and offshore workers. Q: What is “maintenance and cure”? “Maintenance and cure” refers to financial compensation made available to maritime and offshore workers who get injured on the job. “Maintenance” covers a portion of injured workers’ cost of living, while “cure” covers medical expenses incurred as a result of job-related injuries. Q: When is an offshore worker eligible for maintenance and cure? In order to be eligible for maintenance and cure, an injured maritime worker must qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act. Individuals who work onboard floating rigs, jack-up rigs, non-fixed platforms, ships, barges, and other vessels will usually qualify. Q: How much do most offshore workers receive in daily maintenance benefits? While employers are required to cover all of the costs necessary to provide medical care and services for their employees’ injuries, maintenance benefits are much more limited. Offshore employers are only required to pay what it would cost for their employees to live on land in the same manner that they lived offshore, and most only pay around $15 to $40 per day. Q: Does it matter how I got injured? Generally, no. Maintenance and cure are “no-fault” remedies, meaning that you do not need to […]

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Am I Eligible to File for Maintenance and Cure?

Articles May 15, 2017

Maintenance and cure benefits are available to injured maritime and offshore workers who qualify as “seamen” under the Jones Act. Are you eligible to file for maintenance and cure? Here is what you need to know: Who Qualifies as a Jones Act “Seaman”? While the Jones Act establishes a number of specific requirements for establishing “seaman” status, generally speaking, a seaman is anyone who works onboard a vessel in navigation on open water. Eligible vessels include: Barges and lay barges Crew boats Cruise ships Fishing vessels Freighters Jack-up rigs Movable rigs Semi-submersibles Supply boats Tankers Towboats and tugs Other river and offshore vessels In order to be eligible for maintenance and cure, you must be able to prove that you were injured onboard your vessel. If you slipped and fell or were hit by a piece of material handling equipment (MHE) at port, for example, other laws may apply. Workers who will typically qualify as seamen under the Jones Act include crew members and others who are assigned to fleets of vessels. Longshoremen, harbor workers, pilots, and administrative personnel who work on land do not qualify as seamen, but they can seek compensation for job-related injuries under other laws. Offshore Injuries that are Eligible for Maintenance and Cure Since maintenance and cure are “no-fault” benefits, virtually all offshore injuries are eligible for compensation. As a result, the key in most cases is establishing when and where the injury occurred. You do need to prove the cause of your injury to […]

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Pre-Existing Injuries Under the Jones Act

Articles Dec 4, 2015

While most workers in the maritime industry have probably heard of the Jones Act they may not know what types of injuries and conditions are covered under this federal statute. The Jones Act covers both new injuries and the aggravation of pre-existing injuries and conditions, meaning that even if you had an old injury, if you are involved in a workplace incident on a ship or a vessel that worsens or aggravates your previous injury, you may still be entitled to recover damages under the Jones Act.

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