Individuals who work in the maritime industry have dangerous jobs. In fact, according to the CDC, workers at marine terminals have higher fatality and injury rates than other workers. From 2011 to 2016, maritime workers were five times more likely to suffer fatal injuries than workers in other industries in the United States.
Maritime employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their workers. They must create an environment that protects people from injury by enforcing safety protocols. If they fail to do so, and you are involved in an accident, then a maritime attorney will help you hold them accountable in court.
Employer Negligence and the Jones Act
When an employee suffers a work injury in the United States, his or her claim is usually covered under workers’ compensation law in that state. However, workers in the maritime industry are not covered under workers’ compensation law. Instead, they are covered under the Jones Act.
The standards for liability under the Jones Act are strict. Any unsafe condition on a vessel can result in an employer being held liable. All that is required is proof that the employer’s negligence played a small role in the accident.
Under the Jones Act, employers must act in a reasonable way and take the necessary precautions to prevent serious accidents and injuries from occurring. Employers are responsible for:
- Properly training every person on board
- Regularly maintaining and inspecting equipment on board
- Avoiding hazardous storms and weather conditions at sea
- Keeping workspaces free of hazards
- Providing supervision
- Ensuring reasonable working hours
Can Employers Be Sued for Maritime Accidents
When a maritime accident occurs, you are entitled to seek compensation for damages from your employer. To do this, you may have to file a lawsuit.
In the United States, federal courts have jurisdiction over all maritime claims. Federal law allows for injured seamen to file joint liability against more than one party, even if that party only contributed to the accident and injuries in a small way.
Under federal law, injured seamen may be able to file a claim against their employer, as well as others who caused the accident.
As an injured maritime worker or crew member, you have a right to:
- Make a claim for lost wages and maintenance and cure
- Make a claim against an employer or negligent third party
- Make a seaworthiness claim if improper vessel maintenance caused the injury
You also have a right to visit your own doctor or receive a second opinion after a serious maritime accident.
At Stevenson & Murray, our maritime attorneys handle claims for workers who are covered by the Jones Act, as well as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. We can help you recover the money you need to pay for:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering (physical and psychological)
- Necessary vocational rehabilitation
- Occupational retraining
- Lost earning capacity for seamen who have a limited ability to work due to a serious injury
Contact Our Houston Maritime Accident Lawyers
If you are hurt in a maritime accident, then it is important to understand your rights. Being injured at sea is catastrophic and can result in significant damage to your physical and financial health. It can also result in permanent impairment or death. In many cases, your employer may be held responsible for the accident and your injuries.
In order to obtain the compensation you deserve, it is important to speak to an experienced Houston maritime accident lawyer as quickly as possible. At Stevenson & Murray, our attorneys are ready to help you after a serious maritime accident. Call us today at (713) 597-3836 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a free consultation.