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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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How Do You Claim Benefits for a Commercial Diving Accident?

Maritime Law May 14, 2021

Working as a commercial diver can be a dangerous job. Even if you know what you are doing and you do everything you can to keep yourself safe, you can still suffer job-related injuries and illnesses due to factors that are beyond your control. If you have gotten injured or sick while working, you will want to speak with a Florida commercial diving accident lawyer about your legal rights. You may have various claims for benefits, and an experienced lawyer can help you collect the benefits you deserve. Types of Benefits Available to Commercial Divers As a commercial diver, your legal rights depend on several different factors. However, two of the most important factors are: (i) where you were working when you got sick or injured, and (ii) your relationship with your employer (i.e. whether you are an employee or an independent contractor). 1. Jones Act Benefits Some commercial divers are eligible for benefits under the Jones Act. The Jones Act applies to employees who qualify as “seamen,” and it allows eligible divers to file two different types of claims. Commercial divers who qualify as seamen can seek “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits, and they can also sue their employers for Jones Act negligence. 2. LHWCA and OCSLA Benefits If you don’t qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, then you may be eligible for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). These are federal workers’ compensation statutes […]

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Maritime Injury Claims in Mississippi: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Maritime Injuries Apr 30, 2021

If you work offshore, as a shipbuilder or in any other maritime occupation, you need to be careful if you’ve been injured on the job. It is easy to make mistakes, and making mistakes could leave you without the compensation you deserve. To protect yourself, you need to rely on the advice of an experienced Mississippi maritime injury attorney, and you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking Compensation for a Maritime Injury in Mississippi At Willis Law Firm, our practice is devoted to helping maritime workers collect maximum benefits for their job-related injuries. Here are five costly mistakes our Mississippi maritime injury attorneys can help you avoid: 1. Waiting to Report Your Injury at Work In order to seek benefits, you need to report your injury at work as soon as possible. You need to make sure you do this correctly in order to protect your legal rights. If you leave out important information, or if you accidentally report information that isn’t accurate, this could lead to a denial of benefits. We can report your injury for you, and we can conduct a thorough investigation to make sure we have all of the information we need to help you collect payment. 2. Waiting to Seek Medical Treatment After getting injured on the job, it is also important that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible. In some cases, this will mean seeing a ship doctor or other “company doctor.” However, maritime laws […]

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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Offshore Workers in Texas?

Jones Act Apr 23, 2021

Under Texas law, most employers are required to provide workers compensation coverage for most employees. Unfortunately, this does not apply to employees who work offshore. But, there are federal laws that protect offshore workers; and, if you’ve been injured on the job, a Texas offshore accident lawyer can help you seek benefits for your injury. How Do I Seek Benefits if I Am Not Eligible for Workers Compensation? In most cases, workers who get injured offshore can seek benefits under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that Congress enacted in order to provide benefits to workers who do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits because they work on the open water. What Benefits are Available Under the Jones Act? The Jones Act provides “maintenance and cure” benefits to all eligible offshore workers. These are similar to workers’ compensation benefits in that they are designed to help cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income. However, maintenance and cure benefits are typically much less than the benefits available through workers’ compensation. For this reason, the Jones Act affords additional options to injured workers. Under the Jones Act, offshore workers can also file claims for: Jones Act Negligence – If your employer is to blame for your injury (i.e. if it failed to provide adequate safety equipment or paired you with untrained crew members), a Texas offshore accident lawyer may be able to help you file a claim for Jones Act negligence. Unseaworthiness – If […]

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Do You Need an Attorney to File a Jones Act Claim in Louisiana?

Jones Act Apr 16, 2021

If you live in Louisiana and got injured working offshore, you may be able to collect financial compensation by filing a claim under the Jones Act. While some offshore workers try to file Jones Act claims on their own, this is a mistake—and it often proves incredibly costly. Your best option is to hire an experienced Louisiana maritime injury attorney to help you, and you can do so at no out-of-pocket cost. 5 Reasons to Hire an Attorney for Your Jones Act Claim in Louisiana Why should you hire an attorney for your Jones Act claim in Louisiana? Here are five important reasons to seek experienced legal representation: 1. There are Strict Legal Requirements for Filing a Jones Act Claim The Jones Act is a federal law that provides benefits to qualifying offshore and maritime workers. But, in order to secure Jones Act benefits, you need to meet the law’s strict requirements. If you make any mistakes when filing your Jones Act claim, you could end up without the benefits you deserve. 2. There are Different Types of Jones Act Claims Many offshore and maritime workers do not realize that there are different types of Jones Act claims. While maintenance and cure benefits are available under the Jones Act on a “no-fault” basis, these benefits are limited—and they are not the only benefits available. In many cases, injured workers can seek additional compensation for unseaworthiness and Jones Act negligence. 3. You Are Responsible for Calculating Your Losses When you file […]

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Jones Act Info for Florida Offshore or Dockside Workers

Jones Act Apr 9, 2021

If you work offshore or dockside in Florida and you have been injured on the job, you need to be very careful to protect your legal rights. Here is an overview of what you need to know and how an experienced Florida maritime injury lawyer can help you seek just compensation: Who is Covered by the Jones Act? The Jones Act covers anyone who is a permanent or significant worker on a vessel, such as a crew member. It provides maintenance and cure benefits to “seamen” who suffer work-related injuries, and it provides additional compensation to those who are injured due to their employers’ negligence or a vessel’s unseaworthiness. The Jones Act does not cover employees who only work on vessels temporarily, such as harbor workers. However, harbor workers may be eligible for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). What is a “Vessel?” Under the Jones Act, a “vessel” is any type of professional or personal watercraft. This includes recreational boats, barges, cargo ships, tanker ships, cruise ships, and tugboats, among many others. Fixed platforms on the water are not considered vessels under the Jones Act, but individuals who work on fixed platforms may be able to file claims under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). What Does “Unseaworthy” Mean? A vessel may be considered “unseaworthy” if it is physically defective or is not properly equipped—lacking life jackets or first aid kits, for example. A vessel may also be considered unseaworthy if it is staffed […]

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