Maritime Accident? Speak with a Florida Jones Act Lawyer Today
With abundant access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, Florida’s ports and inland waterways are critical to our country’s domestic and international commercial activity. Workers at terminals and onboard container ships, cruise ships, cargo ships, barges, oil tankers, fishing boats and other commercial vessels play an essential role in the economy, helping to ensure that supply meets demand. Workers on offshore drilling rigs, crew boats, jack-up rigs and other oil-related rigs and vessels play similar roles as well. Unfortunately, despite the risks offshore and other maritime workers face on a daily basis, shipping companies, oil companies and other employers often do not take the steps necessary to protect their employees’ health and safety. When maritime workers in Florida suffer work-related injuries, the Florida Jones Act lawyers at Willis Law Firm helps them fight for just compensation.
Protecting the Rights of Injured Seamen and Maritime Workers
If you were injured working on a vessel or offshore, you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal maritime law that provides special protections to maritime workers, many of whom face dangerous job-related risks on a daily basis.
However, while the Jones Act’s protections are clear, employers rarely (if ever) voluntarily pay their injured workers the full compensation they deserve. In fact, many employers will dispute their employees’ Jones Act claims, and some even have policies and procedures in place designed to prevent employees from asserting their rights under the Jones Act. On top of these concerns, you may have additional claims for compensation outside of the Jones Act, and if you only pursue a claim against your employer you might not recover the full compensation you deserve.
As you can see, securing just compensation after an offshore or maritime accident gets complicated quickly. As a result, the best way to protect your rights (and maximize your financial recovery) is to consult with an experienced Florida Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
Our Florida Jones Act Lawyer Outlines Common Maritime Injuries
The Jones Act does not identify specific types of injuries that are eligible for compensation. Instead, it establishes rights for eligible workers (those who qualify as “seamen”) that apply regardless of the harm they have endured. As a result, the following are all examples of common offshore injuries that may entitle injured workers to file a Jones Act lawsuit:
- Bone fractures
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Facial injuries
- Inhalation injuries
- Lifting Injuries
- Mesothelioma cancer from asbestos exposure
- Leukemia from benzene containing products
- Severe lacerations and contusions
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injuries
Again, these are just examples. If you have suffered any type of serious injury or illness while working or a maritime vessel or offshore, you should speak with a Florida Jones Act lawyer about your rights.
Common Causes of Offshore Injuries Also Eligible for Jones Act Benefits
Under the Jones Act, seamen have two options when it comes to securing compensation for their injuries. The first is a claim for “maintenance and cure” benefits. These are limited benefits for medical and living expenses that employers must pay regardless of who was at fault in the accident. The second is a Jones Act lawsuit alleging that the seamen’s employer’s negligence contributed to his or her injuries. In negligence lawsuits, seamen can seek full compensation for their accident-related injuries.
Common causes of offshore accidents that can entitle injured seamen to file both types of claims under the Jones Act include:
- Crane and other equipment accidents
- Crewmember negligence
- Defective equipment
- Falling tools and other objects
- Falls from heights
- Falls during rough seas or bad weather
- Shifting cargo
- Slips and falls
- Barge & vessel collisions
Like the list of injuries above, this list is not exhaustive. There are many more causes of maritime accidents that can entitle you to seek compensation under the Jones Act. For advice specific to your individual situation, contact a Florida Jones Act attorney the Willis Law Firm for a free consultation today.
Florida Offshore Drilling Accidents
Of course, Florida serves as the base of operations for many offshore drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean as well. Seamen who work on service boats, as well as maritime workers on rigs and offshore platforms, often face extreme risks – not only from hurricanes, but just in their day-to-day working environments. Like other offshore workers, oil company employees who get injured on the job (and their families in cases involving work-related fatalities) are often eligible for compensation under the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and other laws.
Discuss Your Maritime Injury Case During a Free Consultation with an Experienced Florida Jones Act Lawyer
The Willis Law Firm provides nationwide legal representation for victims of maritime injuries. Maritime injury lawyer David Willis has been representing clients in Jones Act and other maritime law cases for more than 30 years. If you or a loved one has been injured at work, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. To learn more about your legal rights, contact us online for a free consultation today.
Florida’s Ports and Inland Waterways
The largest seaport in Florida is the Port of Tampa Bay. The Port of Tampa Bay is also among the largest ports (by annual tonnage) in the entire United States. Each year, the Port of Tampa Bay services container ships and other commercial vessels transporting more than 45 million short tons of cargo.
The other major ports in Florida are:
- Port of Fort Pierce
- Port of Jacksonville
- Port of Miami
- Port Everglades
Collectively, the following Florida ports service millions of short tons of cargo each year as well:
- Apalachicola Harbor
- Port of Big Bend
- Port of Boca Grande
- Port Canaveral
- Dames Point
- Port Fernandina
- Port of Key West
- Naval Station Mayport
- Port of Palm Beach
- Port of Panama City
- Port of Pensacola
- Port Manatee
- Port of Port St. Joe
- Port St. Petersburg
In addition to its ports, Florida also hosts an extensive network of inland waterways, including a key stretch of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Dredges, barges and tug boats use these routes on a regular basis, and container ships rely on these navigable waters to transport petroleum, building materials, manufactured goods and other products throughout the United States. With such a high volume of commercial activity, it is little wonder that or Florida Jones Act attorneys see numerous Florida barge accidents and Florida maritime accidents every year.