Understanding Seamen’s Rights After Vessel Capsizing and Sinking Accidents

Maritime Injuries Dec 21, 2021

Under ordinary circumstances, a vessel should never capsize or sink—especially with crewmembers or other seamen on board. Yet, capsizing and sinking accidents don’t just happen, but they happen frequently. So, why is this the case? When a vessel capsizes or sinks, what company is responsible? Most importantly, what are injured workers’ and families’ legal rights? Why Vessels Capsize and Sink (When They Shouldn’t) Vessels capsize and sink for a variety of different reasons. While these are occasionally freak accidents that involve sudden storms or rogue waves, there are often much simpler and more straightforward explanations. In fact, in most cases, when a vessel capsizes or sinks, it is because of an issue with the vessel itself. Human error is a common factor as well. Some examples of the most common causes of capsizing and sinking accidents include: Failure to Account for Weather or Sea Conditions – These days, there is almost no excuse for a vessel heading into a storm or into sea conditions that it is not equipped to handle. Captains and crewmembers should chart the vessel’s course using up-to-date satellite and radar imagery, and they should alter the course when necessary to avoid unsafe conditions on the water. On the same token, companies must avoid forcing captains to steer their vessels into hazardous conditions in an effort to avoid delays. Collisions with Other Vessels or Stationary Objects – Collisions with other vessels or stationary objects such as day markers and underwater pipelines can cause vessels to take on […]


Arbitration for Jones Act Claims

Jones Act Dec 9, 2021

If you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, you have the right to receive maintenance and cure benefits when you get injured on the job. You are entitled to these benefits regardless of how you got hurt (with a few rare exceptions), and your employer is supposed to pay promptly without putting up a fight. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. In fact, maritime employers routinely fight their employees’ claims for Jones Act benefits. One tactic many companies use is to try to force their employees to submit to Jones Act arbitration. What is Arbitration Under the Jones Act? Arbitration is a formal method of resolving legal disputes. Both parties (i.e., an injured seaman and his or her employer) present their arguments to an arbitrator, and then the arbitrator issues a decision. This decision is legally binding, and there are limited options for seamen to challenge a binding arbitration award in court. Why Is Arbitration Unfavorable for Injured Seamen? As an employee, you are not required to submit your maintenance and cure claim to arbitration (unless you have an employment contract that requires arbitration). But, this will not stop your employer from trying to force you into the process. There are a few reasons why maritime employers like arbitration when it comes to employees’ claims under the Jones Act: Arbitration is time-consuming. While arbitration is not as time-consuming as going to court, it is time-consuming nonetheless. Filing for arbitration delays an employer’s obligation to pay benefits, which puts […]


Breaking Down Barge Accident Claims

Barge Injuries Dec 2, 2021

Barges can be dangerous workplaces. There is usually a lot going on, and, from rough seas to coworker negligence, there are numerous issues that can put barge workers at risk for serious on-the-job injuries. While the good news is that injured barge workers will typically be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, the bad news is that securing this compensation can be very difficult. Types of Barge Accident Claims Individuals who work on all types of barges have the same fundamental rights under the Jones Act when they get injured on the job. While lay barges and spud barges tend to be particularly dangerous, an accident on any type of barge can lead to severe injuries, expensive medical bills, and time missed from work. Lay Barge Accidents – Common accidents on pipe lay barges (PLBs), derrick lay barges (DLBs) and cable lay barges (CLBs) include equipment and machinery accidents, welding accidents, crushing accidents, collisions with shifting and moving objects, and falls. Spud Barge Accidents – Common accidents on spud barges and jack-up barges include crane accidents, construction, and demolition accidents, pile driving accidents, and mooring accidents. Other Barge Accidents – Common accidents on crane barges, dock barges, deck barges, shale barges, hopper barges and other types of barges include equipment and machinery accidents, falls, collisions, and accidents caused by inadequate safety precautions or coworker negligence. What To Do if You Think You Have a Barge Accident Claim If you have been injured on a lay barge, spud barge, or […]


Common Types of Maritime Collisions

Offshore Injuries Oct 1, 2021

While it might seem like maritime collisions should never happen, these accidents are alarmingly common. In fact, our maritime collision lawyers routinely hear from seamen and other maritime workers who need to seek compensation for accidents involving: Allisions An allision involves a collision between a vessel and a stationary object. Collisions with bridges, seawalls, jetties, navigation markers, docks, and other objects can cause both serious damage and serious injuries. Allisions can also involve collisions with reefs, rocks and land caused by high seas. Bow-On Collisions A bow-on collision involves two vessels colliding bow-to-bow or head-to-head. These accidents frequently occur when captains are distracted, though rudder failures and other mechanical issues can also cause captains to lose control and strike another vessel’s bow. Side-Impact Collisions Side-impact collisions occur under a wide range of scenarios. They can occur while one vessel is docked or moored (which is also a type of allision) or while both vessels are in navigation. Side impacts while large ships are attempting to dock at ports, marinas and offshore platforms can cause injuries as well. Stern Collisions A stern collision occurs when one vessel rear-ends another. Similar to the other types of accidents discussed above, these collisions can result from various factors, and they can result in injuries to crew members and passengers onboard both vessels. How is Fault Determined in a Maritime Collision? Determining fault in a maritime collision requires an in-depth investigation of the circumstances involved. This investigation can take hours, weeks or months. When you […]


Hot Work Accidents in the Maritime Industry

Maritime Injuries Sep 21, 2021

If you do hot work in the maritime industry, you face risks on a daily basis. Welding, brazing, burning, cutting and other forms of hot work can result in various types of injuries, and these injuries often have long-term or permanent consequences. Were you injured in a hot work accident? If so, you should consult with a lawyer promptly. While you may be entitled to financial compensation under the Jones Act (or another maritime injury law), you will need an experienced lawyer to help you recover the compensation you deserve. When Can You Seek Financial Compensation for a Maritime Hot Work Accident? Under the Jones Act and other laws, maritime workers can seek benefits when they get injured on the job. Proof of fault is not required. As a result, if you have been injured in any type of hot work accident, you should schedule a free consultation right away. Your lawyer can help you report the accident, get appropriate medical care, and fight to make sure you receive the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Our firm handles cases involving all types of hot work accidents, including: Burns Fires Explosions Exposure to toxic fumes or vapors While proof of fault is not required to pursue a claim in most cases, you may be entitled to additional compensation if your employer is responsible for your injuries. For example, while maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act are limited, pursuing a claim for Jones Act negligence allows seamen to fully […]


Maritime Safety for Veterans

Maritime Injuries Aug 10, 2021

Many U.S. military veterans transition into the commercial maritime industry following their retirement from service. There are many careers in the commercial maritime industry that are well-suited to military veterans’ training and skills, and veterans often spend long careers as “merchant mariners” in both inshore and offshore waters.


Why Docks are Dangerous for Maritime Workers

Maritime Injuries Jul 1, 2021

Seaman and Other Maritime Workers Need to be Mindful of the Potential Hazards of Working on a Dock Working on a dock can be dangerous. Docks present various risks, and workers can – and do – suffer various types of injuries. While dock owners and employers should take steps to mitigate these risks, many fail to do so, and these failures often have severe consequences.


5 Important Facts about Maintenance and Cure Benefits

Maintenance and Cure Jun 30, 2021

If you qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, you are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits when you get injured on the job. Unfortunately, there is a lot of important information your employer won’t tell you, and many companies try to get away with paying far less than their employees deserve. How much are you entitled to receive for maintenance and cure? How long are you entitled to receive these benefits? What if your employer refuses to pay the full amount you are owed? These are all answers you need to know. With this in mind, here are five important facts about maintenance and cure benefits for injured seamen: 1. Your Maintenance Benefits Should Cover Your Living Expenses The maintenance benefits you receive under the Jones Act should cover your living expenses. While many companies offer their employees a fixed rate (usually between $15 and $30 per day), you are entitled to submit documentation showing that you need more in order to buy gas and groceries and keep paying your bills on time. 2. There is Not a “Maximum Amount” Your Employer Can Pay Some companies will falsely claim that they cannot pay more than a predetermined “maximum amount” for maintenance and cure. This is not the case. Your employer can – and must – pay full maintenance and cure benefits until you get better or reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI). 3. You Don’t Have to Accept Your Company Doctor’s Decision Regarding MMI When you see a […]


5 Important Facts for Offshore Workers Who Live in Florida

Maritime Injuries May 28, 2021

Many Florida residents work offshore. If you are among them, it is important to make sure you have a clear understanding of your legal rights—especially when you get injured on the job. Here are five important facts for offshore workers from Florida maritime injury lawyer David P. Willis: Fact #1: Most Offshore Workers are Entitled to “No-Fault” Benefits When They Get Injured on the Job There are two primary laws that protect offshore workers: (i) the Jones Act and (ii) the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). Both of these laws entitle offshore workers to “no-fault” benefits when they get injured on the job. The right to “no-fault” benefits means that you can file a claim regardless of how you got injured. Whether your employer is responsible, a coworker made a mistake or you accidentally caused your own injury, you should talk to a Florida maritime injury lawyer about filing a claim under the Jones Act or the OCSLA. Fact #2: Many Offshore Workers Can Seek Additional Compensation for Fault In addition to “no-fault” benefits, many offshore workers can seek fault-based compensation as well. The Jones Act allows offshore workers to sue their employers for even “slight” negligence, and offshore workers will often have fault-based claims against other companies as well. For example, if you got injured on a rig, platform or vessel, the owner of the rig, platform or vessel may be liable. Or, if you got injured by a defective tool or piece of equipment, the manufacturer may […]


What are Your Legal Rights After a Shrimp Boat Accident in Georgia?

Maritime Injuries May 21, 2021

It’s shrimp season in Georgia, and this means that shrimp boats are once again hitting the water. Unfortunately, this also means that many individuals who work on shrimp boats will soon suffer injuries on the job. While shrimp boat owners and operators should protect their workers, many of them cut corners, and many workers end up needing to hire a Georgia maritime accident lawyer to help them recover just compensation. Here are your legal rights when you get injured in a shrimp boat accident in Georgia: Right to Jones Act “Maintenance and Cure” Benefits The Jones Act is a federal law that protects offshore workers, including Georgia residents who work on shrimp boats. Under the Jones Act, shrimp boat workers can collect “maintenance and cure” benefits when they suffer job-related injuries. These benefits are available on a no-fault basis, which means that you can collect them no matter how you got injured on the job. Right to Sue for “Jones Act Negligence” Shrimp boat workers also have the right to sue their employers for “Jones Act negligence.” This is important because “maintenance and cure” benefits do not cover all of the costs associated with job-related injuries. If your employer is responsible for your injury (for example, if it failed to follow any necessary safety precautions), then a Georgia maritime accident lawyer can help you file a claim for full compensation. Right to Sue for Unseaworthiness If you got injured because your shrimp boat was unsafe, you may also be able […]


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