Maritime Law Protecting Workers Through Maritime Law

Maritime & Admiralty Law

Injured offshore? Get Arnold & Itkin in your corner!

Just like any other industry, seamen are at risk for suffering work-related injuries any time that they are on the clock. The courts have recognized this and are continually working to protect injured seamen through general maritime law. Maritime law allows workers who have been injured offshore or in the maritime industry the chance to claim necessary compensation for any suffering of medical complications.

Originally, general maritime law emerged from the court system that dated back to British admiralty law. Through the years, maritime law has become more intricate and complex. The outdated compensation rates are no longer widely accepted, which is due in large part to the evolving changes of maritime law.

The following acts are foundational to maritime law:

Though the above acts are very critical, general maritime law is still the basis for all injuries sustained by seamen. It is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the general law before delving into the subsequent acts.

Maritime Law As It Applies to Employers

Under general maritime law, ship owners are required to keep their vessels maintained according to a certain standard. As the employer and owner, the vessel holder must preserve the safety and structure of the ship in a way that is appropriate for all employees on board. Manning, equipping, and supplying the vessel are all key aspects of a ship owner's duty according to general maritime law. Subsequently, if an employee of the vessel becomes injured or ill due to the unseaworthiness of the ship, the owner will be held accountable for any loss by way of compensation.

How does maritime law provide for injured workers?

Without the provision of general maritime law, injured seamen would be left on their own to counteract any suffering they sustained while working. Anytime a ship employee becomes injured or sick, the vessel owner is required to reimburse their losses. General maritime law refers to this reimbursement as maintenance and cure, meaning that until the seaman fully recovers, the employer must provide for their affliction.

The court views this obligation as an unquestionable duty that the ship owner owes any seaman aboard their vessel. Seaman are also eligible to recover full wages for the length of the voyage during which they sustained injuries or illness. An employment contract may dictate the amount of unearned wages a seaman can receive.

Provisions for Maintenance & Cure

Maintenance and cure refer to the benefits a seaman is entitled to until he sufficiently recovers and is fit for duty. However, there is a maximum medical improvement limit that can control the amount of compensation received. Because many ship owners are loathe to pay the highest amount of benefits possible, they will either follow old maintenance rates (which can range from $15 to $35 a day) or regulate the cure benefits by hand-picking covered medical treatments. The U.S. Supreme Court states that the duty to provide maintenance and cure must be broad and inclusive. In the case of compensation, the seaman is almost always favored when any skepticism is involved.

Our Maritime Lawyers Can Help: Call for a Free Consultation

If you believe that you have a case that falls under maritime law, don't hesitate to contact our firm. Maritime injury lawyers from Arnold & Itkin LLP are more than qualified to represent your rights and fight for the benefits that you deserve. Get in touch with our firm today to learn more about how our experience can benefit you.

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