What are My Rights if I Live in Alabama and Was Injured in an Offshore Accident?

Offshore Injuries Feb 24, 2021

If you live in Alabama and work offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, your legal rights after an accident will depend on how, where and why the accident happened. Depending on the circumstances involved, you may be limited to seeking “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act, or you may be able to recover full compensation by filing a claim under the Jones Act or other law. Regardless of your rights, it will be important to seek help, and you should consult with an offshore accident lawyer promptly. Your Rights Under the Jones Act If you qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, you have the right to collect maintenance and cure benefits for your injury. These “no-fault” benefits are available regardless of how you got injured, but they only cover (i) your medical expenses, and (ii) daily living expenses of about $15 to $40 per day. In addition to providing “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits, the Jones Act also gives seamen the right to sue their employers for negligence. In fact, only proof of “slight” negligence is required. If your employer is to blame for your injury, you can hire an offshore accident lawyer to file a Jones Act lawsuit to recover full compensation. This is true whether your employer’s headquarters are located in Alabama or in another state. Your Rights Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) If you do not qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, then you may have rights […]


FAQs: How Much Can I Recover Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)?

Maritime Law Feb 19, 2021

If you work in the maritime industry but do not work offshore, recovering compensation after an on-the-job accident may involve filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). Here, maritime accident attorney David Willis answers some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about compensation claims under the LHWCA: Am I Eligible to For Compensation Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act? In order to be eligible for compensation under the LHWCA, you must qualify as a longshore or harbor “employee.” Those who are covered under the LHWCA include: Longshoremen Harbor workers Shipbuilders and repairmen Shipbreakers Other employees involved in longshoring operations In order to qualify for LHWCA benefits, you must also have suffered a job-related injury. However, since the LHWCA provides “no-fault” benefits, you do not need to prove that your employer is to blame for your injury in order to file a claim. What Costs Does the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act Cover? The LHWCA covers injured employees’ medical needs and a portion of their lost income. Specifically, if you have a claim under the statute, you are entitled to: (i) full coverage for all necessary medical care related to your on-the-job injury, and (ii) income benefits calculated as two-thirds of your weekly wage. How Much Compensation Can I Receive Under the LHWCA? The specific amount of compensation you can receive under the LHWCA depends on your medical needs and your current wage. It also depends on how long your injury prevents you from working. […]


FAQs: How Much Can I Recover Under the Jones Act?

If you have been injured working on a boat or other vessel, recovering compensation for your injury may involve filing a claim under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that applies specifically to individuals who work onboard “vessels in navigation,” which includes vessels docked at port, operating on inland waterways, and out at sea. The amount you can recover under the Jones Act depends on several different factors. Here, offshore accident attorney David Willis answers some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about compensation claims under the Jones Act: How Much Can I Recover Under the Jones Act? In order to determine how much you can recover for your injury, you first need to know which type of Jones Act claim you can file. There are two types of Jones Act claims: (i) claims for maintenance and cure, and (ii) claims for Jones Act negligence. If you have a claim for maintenance and cure, your injury-related medical expenses should be covered, and you should receive a “maintenance” payment as well. Typically, maintenance payments are in the range of $15 to $40 per day. Why are Maintenance and Cure Benefits So Low? Maintenance and cure benefits are so low for two main reasons. First, these are “no-fault” benefits, which means your employer is required to pay even if it is not responsible for your injury. Second, “maintenance” benefits are only intended to cover your basic expenses while living onboard a vessel—they are not intended as a full replacement for […]


What Should Maritime Companies Do to Prevent On-the-Job Injuries?

Maritime Injuries Feb 12, 2021

It’s no secret that offshore and maritime injuries are far more common than they should be. While the prevalence of on-the-job injuries is partially due to the inherent hazards of working offshore, there are many steps that maritime companies should – but often don’t – take to protect their workers. As Maritime accident lawyer David Willis explains, many of the most common safety failures are also among the most common causes of job-related injuries for maritime workers. 10 Safety Violations that Frequently Lead to On-the-Job Injuries for Maritime Workers While many different factors can lead to on-the-job injuries, offshore and maritime workers frequently suffer injuries due to safety violations. Maritime companies have a legal obligation to reduce injury risks for their employees, but many companies fall far short of what is required. Here are 10 of the most common safety issues that lead to on-the-job injuries for maritime workers: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Failures – Inadequate access to personal protective equipment (PPE), PPE in poor condition, and inadequate training on the proper use of PPE Electrical Hazards – Exposure to electrical faults and other electrical hazards Equipment Dangers – Equipment that has not been adequately maintained, equipment not being used for its intended purpose, and inadequate training on the proper use of equipment Fire Hazards – Inadequate mitigation of fire hazards, overlooking combustion risks, failure to provide fire extinguishers, and inadequate fire protection systems Communication Failures – Inadequate communication of safety hazards, inability to report safety risks, and inaccessibility following […]


New Study Reveals Most Common Offshore and Maritime Injuries

Maritime Injuries Feb 10, 2021

What are the most common offshore and maritime injuries? A recent study published in the Hellenic Shipping News answers this question. The study examines data from three different sources in an effort to determine what is the single most common cause of injuries at sea. Here, Jones Act lawyer David Willis breaks down what injured offshore and maritime workers need to know. The Seven Most Common Causes of Offshore and Maritime Injuries The data do not point to a single factor as the most common cause of offshore and maritime injuries. But, they do reach a consensus regarding the top seven causes of accidents on offshore and inshore waters. Based on the data studied, the seven most common causes of offshore and maritime injuries are: Slips and Falls Burns and Explosions Being Caught in Equipment Being Struck By Falling Objects Suffocation and Asphyxiation Lifting Accidents Other Causes While the Hellenic Shipping News notes that the three sources’ data sets are, “surprisingly similar given that each data set has a wide variety of vessel types,” there are some notable discrepancies. For example, while two of the sources identify slips and falls as the most common cause of injuries (accounting for 34 percent and 32 percent of all injuries in these sources’ studies), the third identifies “struck by” accidents as the leading cause—accounting for 37 percent of all injuries on the job. Additionally, while one of the sources identifies lifting accidents as the second most common cause (28 percent of all injuries), […]


What Are My Rights if I Live in Virginia and Was Injured in a Maritime Accident?

Maritime Injuries Jan 29, 2021

Working in the maritime industry is dangerous. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. Each year, numerous maritime workers in Virginia suffer serious on-the-job injuries, and many can never recover fully. Here, maritime accident attorney David P. Willis explains your legal rights if you have been seriously injured in a maritime accident in Virginia: Statutory Rights Under Federal Law Due to the unique nature – and unique risks – of the maritime industry, Congress has enacted several statutes that provide specific protections to maritime workers. Depending upon your particular occupation and where you perform your day-to-day job duties, you may be entitled to compensation for your job-related injury under: The Jones Act – The Jones Act protects Virginia maritime workers who are classified as “seamen.” This includes captains, crewmembers, and others who work onboard vessels in navigation. Notably, a vessel does not have to be moving to be considered “in navigation.” If the vessel is in the water and capable of moving in navigable waters, then workers on board are entitled to “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act. The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) – The LHWCA protects maritime employees who work at ports and terminals, as well as those who work on docks and offshore drilling platforms. Longshoremen, harbor workers, shipbuilders, and others who are entitled to the LHWCA’s protections in Virginia can receive “no-fault” compensation if they get injured on the job. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands […]


Can I File a Jones Act Claim if I Live in Florida?

If you work in Florida’s maritime industry, you have probably heard about the Jones Act. This law, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, provides two ways for maritime workers to seek compensation when they get injured on the job. As maritime accident lawyer David P. Willis explains, the Jones Act applies to many types of maritime workers. If you have been injured on the job, you should speak with a lawyer to determine if you are entitled to Jones Act compensation. Who Does the Jones Act Protect? The Jones Act does not protect all maritime workers. Instead, it only applies to those who are classified as “seamen.” You are classified as a seaman if you work in Florida’s maritime industry and: You work onboard a vessel “in navigation;” You spend a “significant amount of time” working onboard the vessel (typically 30 percent or more of your work hours); and, Your job duties “contribute to the work of the vessel.” Ship crewmembers, officers, and captains will generally qualify for Jones Act protection, but these are by no means the only types of workers who can file Jones Act claims. Employees in all occupations who work on ships, boats, barges, floating cranes, floating rigs, motorized platforms, and other movable vessels and structures will typically be eligible to file claims as well. If you do not qualify as a seaman, this does not mean that you are ineligible for compensation. It merely means that you must file your claim under […]


Maritime Accidents Common in Offshore Occupations

Maritime Injuries Jan 29, 2021

As an offshore worker, you face injury risks on a daily basis. While most of these risks pass, it only takes one incident to cause months, years, or a lifetime’s worth of pain, suffering and financial loss. To protect yourself and your family, you need to seek help, and this starts with hiring an experienced Jones Act lawyer to represent you. But, when should you hire a lawyer? What types of accidents are covered, and when is a Jones Act claim too much to handle on your own? Here’s what you need to know: Common Offshore Accidents Covered By the Jones Act and Other Laws The Jones Act (and the other laws that protect offshore workers) apply to all types of offshore accidents. If you were injured offshore, the question is not how you were injured, but rather what kind of claim you can file. All of the most common types of offshore accidents are covered, including: Slips and Trips – Slips and trips are common onboard vessels, offshore cranes and platforms, oil rigs, and other offshore locations. Common injuries include soft tissue injuries (i.e., sprains and tears), bone fractures and concussions. Falls from Height – Falls from height can cause severe and debilitating injuries. If you fell down the stairs, from an upper deck or from a height in any other scenario, you can hire a Jones Act lawyer to help you seek just compensation. Falls Overboard – Falls overboard can give rise to Jones Act and other claims […]


7 Steps to Take After an Offshore Accident

Offshore Injuries Jan 29, 2021

If you have been injured in an offshore accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, there are steps you must take to protect your legal rights. Learn what to do after being injured offshore from Jones Act attorney David P. Willis: 1. Report the Accident to Your Employer Promptly When you get injured on the job, it is important to promptly report the accident to your employer. This helps to avoid questions about how and when you got hurt, and it helps to ensure that you will receive compensation as soon as possible. Stick to the facts when reporting your offshore accident. Do not exaggerate any details, do not make assumptions, and do not misrepresent what happened. If you make false statements to your employer, this could jeopardize your claim for benefits.   2. Make Sure Your Employer’s Account of the Accident is Accurate Just as you need to ensure that your account of the accident is accurate, you need to ensure that your employer’s understanding of the accident is correct, too. With this in mind, you should ask for a copy of the accident report and review it carefully. If anything is incorrect, or if any key details were omitted, you may want to prepare a written statement to put on file. 3. See Your Own Doctor If you were injured offshore, you may have had no choice but to see your employer’s company doctor. However, once you get back to shore, you should also see […]


What Are My Rights as an Offshore or Maritime Worker in New York?

Maritime Injuries Jan 29, 2021

As an offshore or maritime worker in New York, you have clear legal rights when you get injured on the job. While most employees in traditional occupations are protected by New York’s workers’ compensation statute, workers in the offshore and maritime industries are protected under federal law. As maritime accident attorney David P. Willis explains, the specific federal law that protects you depends on what you do for work and where you were working when you got hurt. Your Rights if You Work Onboard a Ship or Boat If you work onboard a boat or ship, you will most likely be protected by the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that applies specifically to “seamen” who work onboard “vessels in navigation.” To be considered a seaman, you must: Spend a “significant amount of time” working onboard a vessel in navigation (this usually means that 30 percent or more of your work hours must be spent working onboard the vessel); and, Your work must “contribute[] to the work of the vessel,” meaning that your job duties must help in accomplishing the vessel’s mission, whatever that mission may be. To be considered a “vessel in navigation,” the ship or boat onboard which you work must: Be afloat in navigable waters; and, In operation and capable of moving (it does not actually have to be moving at the time you are injured). If you are considered a seaman, live in New York, and suffer from a job-related injury, you can […]


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