Some workers face an inherently dangerous work environment. For instance, thousands of offshore workers are hurt or killed each year.
The danger offshore workers face made headlines in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, becoming the subject of a movie in 2016.
Unfortunately, the national media attention did not inspire oil companies to eliminate risk for offshore workers.
The maritime environment still endangers lives each day, but injured workers have legal options. If you were injured in a maritime work environment, you can take legal action.
Maritime law is complex and differs from the laws that govern land-based employees. If you were injured offshore, you need a knowledgeable maritime attorney to help you recover full compensation.
Speak to an experienced offshore lawyer at The BFH Law Group or keep reading for more information on compensation for injured maritime workers.
What Is a Seaman Entitled to Recover with Maintenance and Cure?
A seaman’s potential compensation for a job-related injury depends on whether they are covered under the Jones Act or maintenance and cure under maritime common law.
The two provisions usually lead to vastly different compensation amounts.
Injured maritime workers can claim maintenance and cure under maritime common law regardless of fault.
This compensation pays medical bills and living expenses up to the point of maximum medical recovery.
Maintenance and cure maritime law requires employers to pay employees only until an employee can return to work or until further medical treatments won’t help.
While maintenance and cure payment is helpful, it often falls short of meeting an injured employee’s financial needs.
What Is a Seaman Entitled to Recover Under the Jones Act?
The Jones Act allows some maritime workers to sue their employers for full compensation after a workplace injury.
Filing a Jones Act lawsuit allows a worker to recover expenses, like medical bills and lost wages.
Workers can also sue for emotional costs of an accident, like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment.
Unlike maintenance and cure payments, Jones Act lawsuits are fault-based. This means that you have to prove that your employer acted negligently to cause your injury.
You will have to prove that your employer meets these four elements of negligence:
- Your employer owed you the duty of providing a safe work environment;
- Your employer breached that duty by allowing an unsafe work environment;
- You were injured as a result of your employer’s action; and
- Your injuries are enough that the court should award you damages, or compensation.
To file a lawsuit under the Jones Act, a maritime worker must:
- Spend 30% or more of their work hours “in the service of a vessel on navigable waters,” and
- Substantially contribute to the mission of the vessel.
Maritime workers such as ship crewmembers, fishers aboard fishing boats, offshore oil and gas workers, and even cruise ship employees usually qualify as Jones Act seamen.
However, harbor workers and workers or guests only temporarily on a vessel do not qualify as seamen under the Jones Act.
Filing a lawsuit under the Jones Act usually allows an injured maritime worker to recover much more compensation than is provided by maintenance and cure payments.
If you think you qualify as a Jones Act seaman, you should contact a skilled maritime lawyer right away.
Do You Need Advice from a Gulf South Maritime Attorney?
If you’ve been injured while working offshore, you have several compensation options available.
You should talk to an experienced maritime attorney to determine which legal option will provide you with the greatest compensation.
At The BFH Law Group, our attorneys hold advanced degrees in the field of maritime law.
We understand the complexities of these laws, and we know how to negotiate with oil company insurance attorneys.
Contact our experienced maritime lawyers for a free consultation. We’ll listen to your story and let you know your legal options.
If we think we can help, we’ll fight to get you maximum compensation for the physical and emotional harm you’ve suffered.
Contact us today to get started on your offshore injury case.