Louisiana Maritime Law Attorneys
Protecting Your Rights Offshore
Maritime occupations are among the most dangerous in the United States. Some reports show that these workers have twice the likelihood of being hurt on the job as construction workers. Considering this, the court system has been trying to keep up with this risk since the early twentieth century, passing laws and regulations designed to provide seaman and their families compensation for injury or death while on the job.
Our judicial system’s initial steps toward protecting maritime workers begins around 1920 with various acts following, but still, general maritime law stands as the basis for seaman injury protection and the first in order with which to become familiar.
Employer Obligations under General Maritime Law
Those in leadership positions onboard a commercial, namely the ship owners, are required to uphold a certain set of safety standards while conducting business. This is to ensure both the production of the ship as well as the safety of its employees.
Three crucial aspects of the ship need to be maintained under maritime law:
- Manning: This refers to the proper functioning of the staff onboard. The owners of the ship may be liable for injury if an accident occurs because of poor leadership, running a vessel that is understaffed, or failing to properly train the seamen onboard.
- Equipping: This refers to the equipment used onboard the vessel to conduct its business. If the equipment is not properly maintained or is not provided, and this leads to an inuring accident, the ship owners may be responsible for damages.
- Supplying: The crew is entitled to an adequate supply of provisions onboard. Supplies need to be planned to match the length or difficulty of the voyage. Incidents regarding a lack of provisions might be subject to the liability of the ship owners.
All of these aspects contribute to the evaluation of the ship as “seaworthy.” When the seaworthiness of the vessel is called into question as a cause for an accident, the employees aboard the ship who were injured are generally entitled to seek retribution.
Providing for Injured Workers under General Maritime Law
The courts have unilaterally found that it is the duty of ship owners to provide for their workers in the event that they become injured or sick during the voyage. Under general maritime law, this provision is known as “maintenance and cure” and provides compensation for the seaman until he or she fully recovers.
In the event that a seaman becomes injured or ill and needs to be taken back ashore for medical attention, he or she may be eligible to receive the wages expected to earn during the full length of the voyage. However, these are terms usually laid out in the finer points of an employment contract.
The Specifics of Maintenance & Cure
Although this program is designed to take care of injured workers through the duration of their injury or illness, there are limitations to medical improvement, and ship owners will not be able to provide for treatment forever. In order to avoid the highest benefit payout, ship owners will instead resort to a maintenance rate between $15 and $35 a day, or pick and choose the medical treatments they will cover. The courts, however, will generally favor a commercial shipping crewman if the integrity of the ship owners’ payout can be properly called into question in a court of law.
Free Consultation with Experienced Maritime Lawyers
The legal team at Arnold & Itkin has extensive experience in maritime law and any other category that may fall under personal injury. If you are in Louisiana and feel as though your injury or illness was the fault of a ship owner, call our offices today at (225) 412-6348 to schedule a free consultation where we will evaluate your case at no risk or obligation to you.