Abbott Clay & Reed

Posts Tagged ‘maritime injury’

What Types of Monetary Compensation Would My Family and I Be Able to Request if I was Injured While Performing My Duties at Sea?

In Jones Act Law, LHWCA, Maritime on July 17, 2009 at 7:44 PM

The Longshoremen’s and Harbors’ Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides adequate compensation for seaman who are injured in their line of work.  This coverage provides payments for medical treatment, travel costs related to medical treatment, and services or supplies which are needed to help the recovery or treatment process.  There is, of course, a lot of legality that comes into play and seeking the help of a professional maritime lawyer will always be a good first step to take.

The definition of disability in a longshoreman clause simply means the inability to perform work and receive pre-injury wages.  This covers any form of disability which will entitle you to receive a weekly compensation every two weeks and will be based from a percentage of your biweekly income before you were injured.  In 2006, it was estimated that the minimum compensation was $278.61 while the maximum was $1114.44.

The compensation for complete or short term disability is calculated at 2/3s the workers weekly average income.  This average is determined by combining the previous 52 weeks of income.  This, of course, could mean that your average might be considerably less if you suffered any periods of unemployment.

Temporary partial disability is compensated at 2/3s the weekly income loss and is based on the loss of earning potential.  Permanent partial disability compensation is intended to cover the injured employee for the loss of a body part or function.  This form of compensation is based on the payout schedule that is specified in the Longshoreman Act.  Basically this schedule appoints a specified timeline as to how long the injured employee may receive compensation.

The LHWCA has worked to get people the coverage they need when working at sea.  There are still a lot of uncovered issues surrounding these matters and you will need to speak with a maritime law professional to get the most compensation for your injury.

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Will I Be Covered by the Jones Act If I’m Working on a Moored Vessel?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on July 9, 2009 at 3:46 PM

The definition of what kinds of seagoing vessels are covered by the Jones Act has certainly been cause for confusion in the past. Court cases have continuously emerged over the course of the last several decades that have expanded and refined the definition of which workers are covered under the act and which are not. One example of the fine lines that the courts have drawn is moored vessels. If you happen to work on a moored vessel, you may find the following information very helpful if you are ever injured while performing the duties of your job.

The coverage of an employee working on such a vessel depends mostly on the degree to which the vessel is moored. As the definition has evolved, certain things such as floating oil platforms, which, while moored, are afloat and being worked on while at sea, have been determined to be covered under the Jones Act. So, if you’re working aboard a floating oil rig, a stationary barge, or other similar type of vessel, there is a good chance that you’re going to be able to receive benefits under the terms of the Jones Act in the event that you are injured while at work.

However, there are vessels which are not covered under this act. This includes those which have been permanently moored to the shore or the banks of any body of water. This includes structures like dry docks, wharves, and certain boat structures, which are no longer counted as vessels. This would also exclude any boats which are connected to the infrastructure systems of the city in which they are located, such as a boat which is receiving electricity, water, or telephone connections from the city they are docked in. So again, whether or not your vessel is moored is less important than the degree to which it is considered to actually be a vessel under the terms of the Jones Act, when determining whether or not you could receive Jones Act benefits if injured while at work.

What Are Considered Reasonable Requests Under the Jones Act?

In Jones Act Law, Maritime on July 4, 2009 at 7:40 PM

When you are employed as a seaman, you are protected in the event of an injury under federal law ruling and the Jones Act.  The right for a seaman that is injured during a period of employment is called “maintenance and cure”.  This basically defines medical benefits – known as cure – and living expenses – known as maintenance.

Being a seaman, the medical benefits you are entitled to cover hospitalization, physical therapy, doctors visits (or medical care), medication, and the facilitation of medical equipment.  If you are a seaman and are in need of any of these instances due to your employment as a seaman, your employer is required to cover these payments – end of story.

If unable to work as a result of an injury or work related health endangerment, a seaman is also entitled to payments for everyday living expenses which include:

– Grocery Bills

– Utility Bills

– Cosmetic and Toiletry Expenses

– Any Other Reasonable Expenses

The only reason any of this is possible is due, in part, to the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act of 1927.  This recognized that people were in need of a federal law to ensure seamen were protected in the same way as everyone else.  This was even more important because there are countless things that could go wrong while out at sea thus making employment at sea extremely dangerous even under the safest conditions.

Sadly, not every employer is going to adhere to the guidelines and practices of the Jones Act.  Due to there being so many uncovered issues with the maritime law, employers have the power to find loopholes in the act and the amendments.  When dealing with any maritime law, especially in affiliation with the Jones Act, you will always want to receive consultation and be represented by a maritime law professional.  An employer of seamen is required to support the legality of the Jones Act and, without proper representation; the employer could very well try to cheat you out of these compensations.

Will My Family Be Entitled to Adequate Benefits if I Am Injured or Killed While Working at Sea?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation, LHWCA, Maritime on June 26, 2009 at 7:46 PM

The Jones Act, with help from the Longshoremen’s and Harbors’ Workers Compensation Act, helps bring financial security to dependents of seamen who lose their life at sea.  This compensation extends to any dependants on that income and has been mandated to meet the needs of a seaman’s spouse, children, and family.  Due to the high risks and life threatening environment these workers find themselves in on a daily basis, you can see the need for some form of legal protection over these matters.

Knowing what your rights are and getting the most compensation in the tragic event of losing a loved one at sea is something everyone should be entitled to.  The federal law recognizes this, even if sometimes an employer doesn’t.  If you are dependent on someone that is risking their life every time they go to work, you need to know that, if something were to happen, you are going to be taken care of after the grieving is over.

The system is basically designed to give percentages of your weekly wages to qualifying, dependant family members.  The death benefits that surround maritime law are not the most amazing compensation; however, the employers are required to compensate until the family member in question can achieve financial independence, be remarried, or turn 18.  There is even a $3000 dollar funeral expense that is covered under maritime law.

A surviving spouse is eligible to receive half of the weekly wage earned by the seaman.  If there are children involved, then this compensation obviously increases.  This is worked out by compensating the surviving dependants with half of the seaman’s weekly wage.  If you have more than one child you are eligible to get 2/3s the weekly income.  This will be paid until the child, or children, turn 18.  There are specific circumstances that see this get extended, but is normally on a case by case basis.

How Does the Jones Act Protect Me?

In Jones Act Law on May 18, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Many individuals support their families with the money that they make working on the rivers, lakes, oceans, and bays within our country. Obviously, a job on any waterway can be a dangerous one. It doesn’t matter if you are a captain, deckhand, fisherman, or cook – a job on a boat has its downfalls. Slippery decks cause several injuries; however, negligence of other crew members is one of the more common causes of injury on the water.

There is a reason for every law and the Jones Act is no different. Had it not been for the courts refusing to recognize the rights of maritime workers and dig further into the cases that they attempted to file against negligent employers, the Jones Act would not exist.

Think about it. How many vessel owners think that they can get “one more trip” out of their boat before they have to make that repair? The Jones Act protects maritime workers from employers like this. It was created in order to allow injured maritime workers the opportunity to file suit against their employer when an injury has been sustained due to negligence on behalf of a crew member, captain, or vessel owner (employer) himself. The Jones Act also enables family members of deceased maritime workers to file suit if it is suspected that negligence was involved in, and ultimately caused, the death of their loved one.

The Jones Act does have some similarities when compared to Workers’ Compensation laws; however, there are very specific differences between the two. For instance, the Jones Act governs maritime workers only. In fact, with the Jones Act, workers are usually entitled to much more than what Workers’ Comp laws would provide to an injured worker. With the Jones Act, maritime workers are able to be compensated for their injury, their time off of work, and their medical bills – even future medical bills that occur due to this single injury. Of course, speaking with an attorney who specializes in this area would be your wisest decision if you are an injured maritime worker.

A place to start – the Jones Act

In FELA, Jones Act Law, Maritime on April 12, 2009 at 2:03 PM

This space will be used to assist those that have been injured while working in harbors and on our Earth’s oceans.  As the senior partner for Ogletree Abbott Law Firm in Houston, Texas I have led the cause in fighting for the rights of injured Maritime Workers across the United States.

I wish to use this blog to pass legal advice to those searching for an answer in their own legal strife but must first “pay the bills”.  Two years ago I published the book “Jones Act & Maritime Law for Injured Workers“.  The completion of this work inspired me to build a website dedicated to helping those hurt in such accidents.  People do not fully understand what the Jones Act entails and I encourage you to read the Wikipedia article that descibes each law that the “Act” commonly refers to.  If you wish to learn more please see shipguide.com for further writings by myself on the subject.