New York

New York-Licensed Maritime Accident Attorney for Injured Maritime Workers

New York’s port district, called the Port of New York and New Jersey, is home to the busiest commercial terminals on the East Coast. Each year, the port district handles millions of cargo containers with contents valued in excess of $200 billion. This accounts for nearly 30 percent of all maritime traffic on the entire eastern seaboard of the United States.

Unfortunately, with so much volume and round-the-clock traffic, maritime workers are often pushed to the brink to do their jobs. This leads many seamen, longshoremen, and others working on New York’s coast, rivers and inland waterways to suffer serious injuries.

At the Willis Law Firm, we have over 40 years of experience fighting for injured maritime workers and their families. The Jones Act and other state and federal laws provide special protections for maritime workers, and we are committed to using these laws to help our clients obtain financial compensation for their losses.

New York’s Ports, Terminals, Rivers and Canal System

The Port of New York and New Jersey has terminals on both sides of the Hudson River. The terminals on the New York side include:

  • Brooklyn-Port Authority Marine Terminal
  • Howland Hook Marine Terminal
  • Red Hook Container Terminal

These terminals are all located on or near the Upper Bay, at the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers. New York is also home to the Port of Albany-Rensselaer, which is located further north on the Hudson River.

Upstate New York has a 524-mile navigable inland canal system that connects the Hudson River with several lakes via the Niagara River. These lakes include:

  • Cayuga Lake
  • Lake Champlain
  • Lake Erie
  • Lake Ontario
  • Seneca Lake

The New York Canal System also includes the following lakes and canals:

  • Cayuga-Seneca Canal
  • Champlain Canal
  • Cross Lake
  • Erie Canal
  • Oneida Lake
  • Onondaga Lake
  • Oswego Canal

The New York Canal System is maintained by the New York State Canal Corporation, which is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority.

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

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 seek compensation under the Jones Act. Minimally, this means filing a claim for maintenance and cure. However, in many cases, injured seamen can seek full compensation for their injuries by filing a lawsuit against their employer.

Your Rights if You Work on the Outer Continental Shelf

If you live in New York and work on a platform, oil rig, or other structure that is fixed to the outer continental shelf, then you may have a claim under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). The OCLSA provides injured offshore workers with access to “no-fault” benefits—similar to New York’s workers’ compensation statute. Thus, regardless of what caused your injury, an experienced maritime accident attorney can help you seek to recover:

  • Medical benefits
  • Disability benefits (wage replacement benefits)
  • Rehabilitation and retraining benefits

Your Rights if You Work at a Port, Dock or Terminal

If you work at a port, dock or terminal in New York, then recovering compensation for your on-the-job injury will most likely involve filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). This federal law also provides compensation similar to state workers’ compensation benefits, and this compensation is available to injured maritime workers on a “no-fault” basis.

Get Help From a New York Maritime Injury Lawyer

While your employer and its insurance company may act like they are on your side, the reality is that most companies want to settle their employees’ injury claims for as little money as possible. Your employer may even try to prevent you from seeing your own doctor. At the Willis Law Firm, we can make sure that these companies don’t take advantage of you.

Attorney David Willis is licensed in New York and Texas, and represents injured maritime workers nationwide. To schedule a free consultation, call 1-800-GOT HURT or contact us online today.

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