Comparison of Maritime Laws

Which Laws Protect Me?

Seamen and offshore workers suffer serious injuries on the job every day. Working on an offshore rig, barge, platform, tugboat or other type of ship or vessel is a dangerous occupation. If you are a seaman or offshore worker who has suffered a serious workplace injury that threatens your ability to continue working, you need to know which laws can provide you with the help you need to recover from your accident.

An array of maritime laws have been enacted to protect workers and other individuals who are injured on or near the water. When you are involved in a maritime accident, it is critical to discuss your case with a skilled admiralty attorney who can help you navigate the laws and recover the compensation you are legally entitled to. Depending upon the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to file multiple legal claims against different parties who are responsible for your injuries.

Jones Act Claims Against Employers

Under the Jones Act an employer can be held liable for almost any unsafe condition on a ship or vessel in navigable waters. If a seaman is injured on the job due to the negligence of the employer or a fellow crew member, the seaman will have the right to file a Jones Act negligence action against the employer. For example, if you slip on an oil spill, trip over debris on deck, fall or are injured by equipment that your employer failed to properly maintain, you may be able file a negligence lawsuit to recover damages from your employer.

General Maritime Claims Against Vessel Owners

Under General Maritime Law, ship and vessel owners have an absolute duty to provide a “seaworthy” vessel to members of the crew. This generally means that the vessel and its equipment must be in safe and proper working order. If a worker is injured due to an unseaworthy condition on the vessel, the ship or vessel owner can be held liable. Countless conditions can give rise to an unseaworthiness claim ranging from worn out equipment and improperly designed tools, to a lack of posted warning signs and insufficient safety devices.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and Other Maritime Acts

Depending upon where you were working when you were injured, you may be protected under other laws and acts. For instance, if you are a harbor worker, longshoreman, ship builder or ship repairer who was injured while working on the Outer Continental Shelf, you may be eligible to collect benefits and compensation under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). The OCSLA and the other acts that are designed to protect seamen and maritime workers contain many legal nuances. An experienced lawyer will review your situation to determine which laws provide the best opportunity for maximum recovery in your case.

Third Party Claims

If your injuries were caused by a third party, such as a contractor, product manufacturer, equipment supplier or a maintenance and repair company, you may also be able to file a legal action against the third party defendant. For example, if you are injured by a defective piece of machinery you can file a product liability action against the company that manufactured the defective product that caused your injury. Similarly, if a maintenance and repair company fails to properly service and repair a piece of equipment on your vessel and you are injured, you may be able to file a third party negligence lawsuit against the company.

The Willis Law Firm Will Explain Your Rights

At the Willis Law Firm we know how to protect workers who are injured in maritime accidents. Our experienced team will review your case and make certain that you understand all of your legal rights. Contact us today at 1-800-468-4878 for your free, confidential consultation so that we can help get the compensation and benefits you need to get on the path to recovery.

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