Category: Maritime Injuries

Can I File for Workers Comp if I Live in North Carolina and Work Offshore?

Maritime Injuries Mar 24, 2021

If you live in North Carolina and work offshore, you probably are not eligible for benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation law. However, you may be eligible for other types of benefits. Two federal laws – the Jones Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) – protect offshore workers who get injured on the job. A maritime injury attorney can assess your rights under these laws and help you collect the benefits you deserve. Understanding Your Rights as an Offshore Worker in North Carolina Lots of North Carolina residents work offshore. Whether you fish for a living, run charters, work onboard a barge or dredge, or work onboard any other commercial vessel, if you are part of North Carolina’s maritime industry, you have clear legal rights. Your Rights Under the Jones Act For most offshore workers, these rights exist under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that applies to offshore workers who are not eligible for state workers’ compensation benefits. If you spend a substantial amount of each workday onboard a vessel “in navigation” (which can include a vessel tied up at a dock or mooring, as long as it is capable of moving), then there is a good chance that the Jones Act protects you. Under the Jones Act, injured maritime workers in North Carolina can file three types of claims: “No fault” claims for maintenance and cure benefits Claims for full compensation based on “Jones Act negligence” Claims for full compensation based […]


What are My Rights if I was Injured Working in the Charleston Harbor?

Maritime Injuries Mar 19, 2021

The Charleston Harbor on South Carolina’s coast is currently one of the busiest harbors in the country. The South Carolina Ports harbor deepening project has dredging ships in the harbor almost every day, and barges are a constant presence as dredging material needs to be carried away in order to reach the 48-foot final depth leading up to the North Charleston Terminal. While this means that there are currently lots of job opportunities in Charleston, it also means that the risk for workers in Charleston Harbor is higher than usual. If you have been injured working in the Charleston Harbor, here is what you need to know about hiring a maritime injury lawyer to protect your legal rights: 1. Several Laws Protect Longshore, Harbor, and Maritime Workers in South Carolina There are several laws that protect workers involved in all aspects of the maritime industry in South Carolina. Whether you run charters out to the reefs off of South Carolina’s coast, you work on a barge or tugboat, you work on a cargo ship or any other type of vessel, or you work at one of the Charleston area’s many ports or marinas, there is a law that is designed specifically to protect workers like you. In most cases, injured longshore, harbor and maritime workers in South Carolina will be able to collect benefits under one of the following laws: Jones Act Longshoreman & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) South Carolina’s Workers Compensation Act […]


You Need This Information to File a Longshore & Harbor Workers Comp Claim

Maritime Injuries Feb 26, 2021

If you qualify for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), you will need to file your claim using the U.S. Department of Labor Form LS-203. You must complete the form to the best of your ability, and omitting any information could lead to your claim being denied. While you can file Form LS-203 on your own, you can also hire a maritime injury lawyer to help you. This is the best option for many workers, as completing the form and securing benefits can often prove to be a challenge. Information Required for Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act Claims Form LS-203 requires 36 different pieces of information, and only two can be omitted. All other sections of the form must be completed in order to successfully file for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. In addition to basic information such as your name, address and date of birth, the information you must provide when filing a claim for benefits under the LHWCA includes: The date and time of your accident The date and time that you stopped receiving pay The date and time that you returned to work (if applicable) Whether you were injured “while doing regular work” (if not, you must provide an explanation) Your weekly wage at the time of your accident Your total earnings during the year before your injury The number of years you have worked for your current employer Your supervisor’s name The “earliest date” your supervisor or […]


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 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), these accidents […]


What Are My Rights Living in Virginia and 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 […]


Your Rights if Exposed to Toxic Chemicals or Fumes in a Maritime Accident

Maritime Injuries Jan 29, 2021

Many workers in the maritime industry are exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes daily. This exposure can cause serious harm, and several types of illnesses and diseases are linked to toxic exposure in maritime occupations. If you are experiencing toxic exposure symptoms, you should see a doctor promptly, and you should also consult with a maritime injury lawyer about your legal rights. Examples of Illnesses and Diseases Linked to Maritime Toxic Exposure How do you know if your symptoms are related to toxic exposure at work? In most cases, maritime employees are only exposed to noxious chemicals and fumes in the workplace. As a result, upon being diagnosed with an exposure-related illness or disease, it is often relatively easy to link the diagnosis back to an employee’s work environment. This is true of illnesses and diseases such as: Aplastic anemia Blood and bone marrow cancers Bronchitis Kidney and bladder cancers Leukemia Lung cancer Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) Scleroderma Silicosis Tuberculosis What Are Your Rights if You Were Exposed to Toxic Chemicals or Fumes at Work? If you work in a maritime or offshore occupation and you are suffering due to toxic exposure, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. The Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) all provide compensation to maritime and offshore workers who suffer from toxic exposure on the job. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be entitled to recover: Maintenance and cure under the Jones Act […]


Common Accidents and Injuries Sustained by Shipyard Workers

Maritime Injuries Dec 31, 2020

Shipyard workers, and other shoreside maritime workers, suffer from serious injuries each year.  Sometimes these injuries can be as serious or even more severe than those suffered by crew members working on a vessel. Longshoremen and harbor workers, such as those working on docks, shipping terminals, or shipyards, are covered by special maritime laws such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This federal law can be complicated to understand if you are unfamiliar with legal language. However, the experienced maritime attorneys at Willis Law Firm can advise you of your legal rights under all applicable state and federal laws and help you or your loved one obtain appropriate compensation for the injuries sustained while working in a shipyard or performing other maritime-related work. Our firm fights to protect injured maritime workers.  Common Injuries Sustained by Shipyard and Other Shoreside Maritime Workers Shipyards are dangerous places to work, and they expose workers to the risk of serious accidents. One exposure faced by such workers is to toxic chemicals. Some of the common chemicals and toxins that shipyard workers may be exposed to include: Lead Benzene Asbestos Lead Exposure Although the federal government banned the use of lead decades ago, it still exists in some products and ships today. When lead-based paint on ships starts to peel away, it releases hazardous toxins into the air that become dangerous to shipyard workers. Maritime workers who breathe in these toxins or absorb lead through the skin can experience various health issues. According […]


A Maritime Worker Hurt on Job.. What Compensation Can I Receive?

Maritime Injuries Dec 24, 2020

Did you know that maritime workers have a higher fatality, injury, and illness rate than other categories of workers in the United States? Maritime-related injuries and accidents occur on and off vessels for various reasons, such as owners and operators failing to maintain a safe and seaworthy vessel, slips and falls from oily deck surfaces, falling off defective ladders, and exposures to toxic chemicals, among other things. Some maritime workers are even injured while working aboard a vessel in untraditional manners. For example, several years ago, a crew member was wounded by a bread trolley in the galley of Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse (a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises). The ship’s sudden movement caused the trolley to roll, fall over, and then strike the worker in the back.  The worker was awarded several million dollars for spinal injuries. There are many more stories out there where vessel workers were seriously injured.  The Willis Law Firm is here to help you or a loved one obtain compensation for the damages you sustained while at work.  What Laws Protect Maritime Workers? Maritime law is a niche area of law that protects maritime workers injured on the job. The protections and compensation available depends on several factors, such as the type of worker injured, where the injury occurred, and the specific details of the accident and injuries sustained.  Some of the more common laws that protect maritime workers include: Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA): This applies to maritime workers injured near navigable […]


Injuries Sustained by Maritime Workers When a Vessel Capsizes or Sinks

Maritime Injuries Dec 17, 2020

Having a vessel capsize or sink is a dangerous scenario that could happen to maritime workers performing their duties while in navigable waters. For many, such incidents never happen. However, others have dealt with the trauma and tragedy associated with a capsized or sinking vessel.   For example, in early September of 2019, a 656-foot vehicle carrier ship known as the Golden Ray overturned off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, with crewmembers initially trapped inside of the overturned vessel. The ship had 24 people onboard, including 23 crew members and one pilot. Fortunately, the trapped crew workers were rescued after the Coast Guard’s intense rescue efforts. The rescuers performed taps on the ship’s hull to try and find the crew’s location. Finally, once they received return taps, rescuers could drill a hole into the hull and eventually rescue the crew. Although their lives were spared, some crew members sustained injuries.   In another example, a cruise ship on the Yangtze River overturned during a severe storm. It was carrying over 450 people. Many passengers were injured, died, or went missing. Unfortunately, there are other stories like this one and the Golden Ray where maritime workers were hurt. The experienced maritime attorneys at Willis Law Firm help fight for the rights of injured crew members and their families like the ones injured aboard those vessels.    Common Injuries Sustained By Workers Aboard a Capsized Vessel  Some common injuries that a crew member could sustain from a distressed vessel that capsizes or sinks include, but […]


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