Daphne Maritime Injury Attorneys
You’ve committed yourself to working in a maritime role, one that comes with inherent dangers and risks. Maritime workers are an important part of this country’s backbone, ensuring that goods are transported in a timely manner and providing important defense services. Because seamen are exposed to such unique and heightened risks, they are also entitled to special protections under maritime law. When you expose yourself to danger every day as part of your work, you deserve protection if you become injured as part of your work.
If you’ve been injured during the course of your maritime work, our team of Daphne maritime injury lawyers is here to help you. Schedule a consultation now by calling Fuquay Law Firm at 251-473-4443.
Why You Need a Maritime Injury Attorney
The maritime industry is well-established in Alabama, employing thousands on fishing boats, oil rigs, shipping vessels, and other seaworthy vessels. Those who dedicate their careers to this dangerous industry are worthy of protection and support, especially when an untimely injury cuts their career and their ability to care for their family short.
The protections offered by the maritime industry are entirely different from those provided by the state’s workers’ compensation program. While there may be some similarities, maritime law is much more complicated. An injured worker may spend months unable to work or even permanently lose their ability to continue earning a living. Depending on which maritime law is most relevant to your claim, you may or may not have to prove that your employer or vessel owner was negligent in their treatment of you or their maintenance of the boat.
If you aren’t familiar with the process of seeking maintenance and cure after a maritime injury, our attorneys are here for you. It is crucial that negligent employers be held accountable for their mistakes—not only are you ensuring that you get the treatment you deserve, you are also setting a standard for others employed by your company. While you work on recovering and preparing to get back into the workforce, we can help fight for the compensation you are owed.
Common Maritime Accidents
Injuries vary widely, depending on whether you are a seaman, longshoreman, maritime engineer, ship steward, or other type of maritime worker. Accidents commonly reported in these roles include:
- Falls, both from heights and on one level
- Crane accidents
- Diving accidents
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Lift accidents
- Vessel collisions
- PTSD and other mental health concerns
The type of accident you’re involved in, and the extent of your injuries heavily influence the amount of compensation you receive and the length of time you receive it. That’s why it’s so important to get checked out as soon as possible after a workplace accident. A thorough checkup will determine the extent of your injuries, the type of treatment you need, and your likely prognosis.
Maritime Laws Protecting Injured Workers
There are several laws that protect maritime workers and seamen, including the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Requirements and compensation vary under each law:
- Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, maritime workers enjoy additional protections above and beyond what is provided by workers’ compensation. Injured workers are permitted to bring claims against negligent employers or owners of unseaworthy vessels. Workers can be compensated for lost wages, lost future wages, disfigurement, medical care, and cost of living during recovery.
- This federal law protects both those who work on navigable waters and those who work adjacent to navigable waters. As a result, those who are excluded by other maritime laws—including longshoremen, repair professionals, and building professionals—to seek compensation after a work-related accident.
- Death on the High Seas Act. The Death on the High Seas Act is very narrow in its scope, allowing surviving spouses, children, parents, and dependents to recover compensation after the death of a seaman. It does not cover pre-death expenses, such as medical expenses incurred prior to death.
Maintenance and Cure
After you’re injured in the course of your work as a seaman, you are legally entitled to maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to the money needed to meet your core obligations while you are away from work. Expenses that fall into this category include your mortgage or rent, home taxes, utilities, food, and home insurance. However, it does not cover “extra” or unnecessary expenses, such as your cable bill, Internet, or car loan.
Maintenance only covers the necessary expenses for running a household. While maintenance rates generally vary between individuals, this may be different for you if you are part of a union. In these situations, the union often negotiates a set maintenance rate that is paid to every injured member, whether it’s higher or lower than what they would have otherwise received.
Cure refers to all appropriate and reasonable medical expenses related to your injury. This includes compensation for the cost of getting to and from appointments. This aspect of maritime law is similar to workers’ compensation.
You are entitled to maintenance and cure until you reach maximum medical improvement, or MMI. For many injured seamen, this means a complete and full recovery from their injuries. However, if your injury will never fully recover, MMI is the point at which no further substantial recovery is expected.
Getting You the Compensation You Deserve
Maritime law is there to protect injured workers, and for the most part, employers respect that. They pay out in a timely manner and don’t nitpick over specific medical costs or timelines. However, there’s an exception to every rule. Some employers, particularly those who know that they were negligent in their role as a leader, try to hide these claims and discourage injured seamen from applying for benefits.
When this happens, it’s not time to negotiate with your employer and try to convince them to do the right thing. It’s time to come in strong with an attorney who represents your best interests. An employer determined to avoid paying out maintenance and cure is a danger to you and others you work with, and hiring an attorney is a swift and effective way to hold them accountable.
Contact Fuquay Law Firm to Start Your Maritime Injury Claim
If you’ve been injured in your role as a seaman, choose Fuquay Law Firm for your maritime injury claim. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 251-219-0329 or filling out our online contact form.