The Willis Law Firm Represents Injured Maritime Workers in North Carolina
If you are a maritime worker in North Carolina and you have suffered an injury on the job, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. The Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), and other laws all provide special protections for maritime workers who get hurt in port, out on the ocean, and on inland navigable waters.
However, while these laws protect you, your employer will likely fight to minimize your financial compensation. Shipping companies, barge operators, port operators, and other businesses in the maritime industry unfortunately tend to put their profits before the safety and wellbeing of their employees. As a result, if you don’t take action to protect your rights, you may end up without the benefits you need to take care of yourself and provide for your family.
Understanding Your Rights Under the Jones Act
Seamen and other maritime workers who are injured or become ill while working on a ship, rig, boat or other maritime vessel are not generally entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits. These workers are typically covered under a federal statute known as the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that is designed to protect certain categories of workers defined as “seamen” who are injured in the course and scope of their employment. Similar to a state workers’ compensation program, the Jones Act provides an injured seaman with compensation and benefits.
In addition to the Jones Act, there are other laws that provide compensation and benefits, comparable to state workers’ compensation programs, to maritime workers who are not classified as seamen under the Jones Act. For instance, the Longshore Harbor and Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) generally covers offshore maritime employees who are injured while working on a dock, terminal, port, or offshore drilling platform and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) protects certain categories of maritime workers who are injured while working on the Outer Continental Shelf. The Jones Act, the LHWCA, OCSLA and other maritime statutes are complicated and it can be extremely difficult to figure out which laws will apply to your case. An experienced North Carolina maritime injury law can review the specifics of your accident to determine which laws and legislation are right for your situation.
Maintenance and Cure Benefits
Under the Jones Act, injured seamen are entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits from their employers. If you are classified as a seaman under the Jones Act, your employer will have to make cash payments (“maintenance”) to you to cover the costs of living on land in the same manner you lived at sea. Your employer will also have to reimburse you for the costs of reasonable medical care and services (“cure”) that are necessary to help you recover from your work injury or illness.
In many situations the maintenance payments you receive from your company will be very low, sometimes less than $25 per day. We understand this is not enough to live on and our firm may be able to help you obtain an increase in this amount along with a cash advance against any future settlements in your case. Your employer may also try to restrict your medical care by forcing you to seek care from your company’s physician. It is important to know that you do not have to be treated by a company physician – you have the legal right to select your own doctors and specialists. If your employer is restricting your choice of medical providers or refusing to cover reasonable diagnostic tests and medical treatments, our firm will take quick and aggressive action to ensure that you get the care and services that you need.
An Experienced Maritime Injury Lawyer Serving North Carolina
At the Willis Law Firm, we are committed to protecting the rights of injured maritime workers in North Carolina and nationwide. Maritime attorney David Willis has more than 40 years of experience helping workers and their families seek maximum compensation for their losses. Whether you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, are entitled to file a claim under the LHWCA, or another law protects you, the Willis Law Firm will fight to help you win the compensation you deserve.
Seaports and Inland Terminals in North Carolina
The North Carolina State Ports Authority is responsible for the state’s two commercial ports on the Atlantic Ocean. These are:
- Port of Wilmington
- Port of Morehead City
The Port of Wilmington is the largest of North Carolina’s ports. However, both the Port of Wilmington and the Port of Morehead City fall within the largest 100 seaports nationwide.
The North Carolina State Ports Authority also runs the state’s two inland terminals:
- Charlotte Inland Terminal
- Piedmont Triad Inland Terminal (located in Greensboro, NC)
Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU)
In addition to these commercial ports and inland facilities, North Carolina also hosts the world’s largest military sea terminal. The Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU) is located on the banks of the Cape Fear River in Southport, SC. MOTSU serves as the U.S. Army’s main deepwater port on the East Coast, and is used to ship heavy equipment, ammunition and bulk supplies to military bases worldwide. MOTSU is open to commercial cargo shipments as well.
Were You Injured on the Job?
If you were injured at port or onboard a cargo ship, container ship, barge, dredge, fishing boat, or other commercial vessel, it is important to stand up for your legal rights. The Willis Law Firm can help, and maritime attorney David Willis will fight tirelessly to make sure you receive the money you need to cover your losses. To learn more about filing a claim for a barge, river or other maritime accident in North Carolina, please contact us today.