In any profession, getting injured on the job can significantly impact your life. For starters, you may have to endure months of medical treatment and rehabilitation, forcing you to miss work. In this situation, most workers can submit a claim for various types of subsistence benefits, or even sue their employer. However, specific rules apply for an injured maritime worker in this situation. Read on to learn about your legal options as a maritime worker in Houston.
Do I Qualify as a Maritime Worker?
Before learning about the damages you can recover, it is important to know the definition of a maritime worker in Texas. First, there are two different kinds of maritime workers. The first type consists of anyone who works on or near water but does not qualify as a seaman. The second type consists of seamen who spend a significant amount of time contributing to the work on a vessel in navigation. To be in navigation, a ship or boat must be:
- In operation
- Capable of moving, and
- On navigable waters
If I Qualify as a Maritime Worker, What Damages Can I Recover if I Am Injured?
Seamen and non-seamen have different legal options after an accident. For instance, injured seamen are not eligible for neither state nor federal workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are three federal laws which give this group of injured maritime workers legal options. They include:
The Jones Act
Under this federal law, injured seamen can sue their employers for negligence. This is due to the Jones Act requiring maritime employers to provide seamen with a reasonably safe work environment. At the same time, the employer must exercise care to maintain this safe environment. Thus, the Jones Act makes proving negligence easier for injured maritime workers.
The Federal Maritime Doctrine of Unseaworthiness
This law states that a vessel must be seaworthy (safe and operable). For this reason, an injured maritime worker can sue the vessel’s owner for damages. Importantly, and unlike the Jones Act, this law has nothing to do with negligence.
Federal Maintenance and Cure Law
Regardless of fault, this federal maritime law states that a maritime employer must provide compensation for maintenance. This includes paying for the worker’s rent, mortgage, homeowner’s insurance and food expenses while the worker remains injured. Further, the employer must also compensate the injured maritime worker for their cure. In other words, they must cover the injured seaman’s medical bills until they fully recover.
For maritime employees who are not seamen, there is one federal law that applies. To clarify, these kinds of employees include longshoremen and harbor, dock, shipping terminal and shipyard workers.
The Longshore Act
This federal law acts as a standard workers’ compensation act. However, it provides workers with more benefits than a state workers’ compensation plan. For example, under the Longshore Act, injured maritime workers can receive a little more than 66 percent of their previous salary. Further, this act provides compensation for permanent partial disability.
Have Questions? Contact a Houston Maritime Accident Lawyer to Learn More
If you are an injured maritime worker, then you may have questions as to which laws apply directly to your situation. Fortunately, the attorneys at Stevenson & Murray can help you determine which type of compensation you are eligible to receive. Further, we can help you fight to secure that compensation as you recover from your injuries. For a free consultation, give us a call today at (713) 597-3836 or send us a message online.