Exposing Negligence & Wrongdoing by Maritime Employers
An employer fails to protect their employees when they fail to use safe practices. To save money, many employers do not execute basic upkeep and allow their vessels and equipment to fall into dangerous disrepair. Lack of maintenance is a common cause of injuries at sea. When an employer is not held accountable for their negligence, employees will be the only ones who continue to pay for their mistakes. When you get injured at work, maritime law provides you with ways to pay for your medical bills and other hardships. Regardless of your protections, employers are responsible for protecting employees from the hazards of working on an oil rig or vessel. When an employer fails to do this, their negligence is to blame, and they must be held accountable.
Common offshore injuries include:
The Laws Protecting U.S. Offshore Workers
To fix some of the gaps and shortcomings of traditional maritime law, Congress has passed four major statutes in US history. These four statutes govern trade and workers’ rights on America’s waterways, between U.S. ports, and on American merchant marine vessels.
These laws are the following:
The jONES aCT
The Jones Act, also known as The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, was created to govern and support American sea trade. Since offshore work is often more dangerous than most industries, the Jones Act makes special provisions for the sake of maritime workers. One of its most important stipulations makes vessel owners responsible for the state of their vessels and the safety of their crew. Most importantly, the Jones Act allows workers to file claims when they’re injured due to employer negligence or unseaworthiness. This part of the law was created to offer relief to injured offshore workers and ensure they receive appropriate compensation for their losses. For workers who suffer serious injuries, Jones Act claims may be their only chance for a financially stable future.
Jones Act claims can include compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Medical care
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Cost of living during recovery
For offshore workers, the Jones Act works like workers’ compensation does for land workers in that it exists to provide relief when an employee is injured. There are two crucial differences, however. One, Jones Act claims tend to be worth more. Workers’ comp covers only basic medical care and a portion of missing wages, but Jones Act claims cover far more. Two, Jones Act claims require claimants to prove negligence on the part of the employer. Worker’s comp does not require anyone to be found at fault. The higher awards offered by the Jones Act also demand a higher burden of proof, which is why injured crews need Alabama Jones Act lawyers.
Under the Jones Act, you have a right to:
- A reasonably safe work environment
- Make a legal claim if injured as a result of negligence
- Maintenance and cure related to the injury or illness
- Additional compensation if the vessel or crew is deemed unseaworthy
- Punitive damages if an employer refused to pay maintenance and cure
The Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
The offshore industry relies on the longshoremen and harbor workers who use heavy equipment and complex machinery to keep our ports functioning. Because the harbor work is often physical and is filled with hazards, injuries in the industry are not uncommon. Often, workers suffer serious injuries after being exposed to harmful chemical or suffer because of equipment failure. In other instances, employers don’t provide them with the right tools, causing them to attempt work that they should be handling unassisted.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that provides compensation to workers injured in areas used for loading, unloading, building, and repairing vessels. Importantly, this law protect workers who are land-based as well as those who are on navigable waters within the United States.
Before the LHWCA, workers were subject to maritime laws that didn’t compensate them adequately for accidents caused by the negligence of others. With the LHWCA, workers can secure compensation for all aspects of their injuries so they can reach full recovery. The LHWCA can help injured harbor workers as well as those in shipyards and offsite buildings and repair areas. Workers covered by the LHWCA include longshore workers and operators, harbor workers, ship builders, ship repairmen, ship breakers, and more.
Our Alabama Maritime Injury Attorneys Fight for Results. No Matter What.
Lasting physical pain, mental trauma, and financial insecurity are things that no one should have to face alone. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what most injured workers are facing when they suffer an accident at sea. The Alabama maritime lawyers at Arnold & Itkin are dedicated to fight for workers who have been unfairly injured.
Our lawyers have a long history of results for maritime workers. We fought for the over one-third of the crew of the Deepwater Horizon after an explosion left 11 dead and dozens injured. Our team represented four families who lost their husbands in the sinking of the El Faro. We also won a settlement for a shrimp boat worker when he sustained a serious back injury due to the carelessness of his employer. All told, our firm has won billions of dollars.
If you've suffered during an offshore accident, our Alabama maritime law firm is ready to fight for your recovery!