Our Texas Maritime Attorneys Answer Your Questions

Maritime injury law is a complicated legal practice area. Federal laws determine whether an injured seaman or their grieving family members can obtain compensation. If you or a loved one suffered harm at sea, then you may have questions about maritime laws. You may wonder if the Jones Act applies or whether it is possible to obtain compensation through alternative means.

Our Texas maritime lawyers have decades of experience handling maritime injury cases. Below, we answer common questions about maritime injuries and maritime injury law.

Is My Injury Covered by the Jones Act?

If you are working and suffered harm aboard a vessel, a barge, tanker ship, tugboat or other seafaring vessel, then you may be able to recover compensation under the Jones Act. This federal maritime law provides the following protections:

  • The right to file a maritime lawsuit against an employer or negligent third party;
  • The right to file a seaworthiness claim if improper maintenance or an incompetent crew caused an injury;
  • The right to seek compensation for maintenance and cure;
  • The right to obtain medical care for your injuries.

This is not an exhaustive list of maritime rights under the Jones Act. The Jones Act covers maritime workers who suffer harm due to the negligence of an employer while aboard vessels operating in rivers, lakes, bayous, and other waterways. In some cases, the injury may not even occur on the water.

However, there are certain situations the Jones Act does not cover. We encourage you to contact the maritime injury lawyers at Stevenson & Murray to find out whether your case qualifies for compensation under the Jones Act.

Is My Injury Covered By the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal law that provides work injury benefits to longshoremen, harbor employees and employees working in shipyards, shipping terminals and docks. Civilian employees working on military bases may be able to recover benefits under the Defense Base Act, a federal law that works in conjunction with the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act are generally more generous than benefits provided by state workers’ compensation laws. If you or a loved one suffered an injury covered by this law, then you may also be able to obtain permanent partial disability benefits.

Your case must meet certain criteria to qualify for benefits under this law:

  • You must pass the status test. This test helps determine the nature of your work. Specifically, it determines whether your job duties qualify for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • You must pass the situs test. This test determines where your job duties take place. To qualify for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, your job would need to take place on, next to or near a navigable body of water.

We have more information about the status and situs tests on our website. You can also reach out to us for a free consultation if you want to determine whether you can obtain benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

The statute of limitations, a statute that determines how long you have to file a claim for compensation, varies depending on the maritime law.

For Jones Act claims, you generally have three years from the date of the accident to file your case.

If your injury qualifies for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, then you have 30 days to notify your employer of your injury. Under this law, you have a year from the date of the injury to file a formal claim.

Due to the complexity of maritime and state laws, we strongly encourage you to contact the maritime injury attorneys at Stevenson & Murray. We can explain how the statute of limitations applies to your case during a free consultation.

What Is Maintenance and Cure in Maritime Law?

Maintenance and cure is a maritime term that specifies the obligations vessel owners and maritime employers owe their employees.

Offshore maritime work environments have different characteristics than traditional work environments. For example, many seamen depend on their employers for food and shelter. Offshore rig employees are a great example of workers who depend on an employer for food, shelter and medical treatment during an emergency.

Due to the nature of offshore maritime work, seamen do not need to demonstrate fault to receive maintenance and cure benefits.

The obligation to “cure” means that a ship or vessel owner must provide necessary medical care when their workers suffer from injuries or illnesses. Injured or sick workers retain the right to choose medical providers and are under no obligation to receive treatment from a provider selected by their employer.

If a seaman suffers an injury, illness, or aggravates an existing condition or illness while serving aboard a vessel or traveling to a vessel, the vessel owner or employer must provide maintenance. This daily stipend covers the seaman while he or she recovers, and may be subject to a contract rate.

Although maintenance and cure is a term many maritime workers are familiar with, they may not fully understand its legal complexities or the obligations their employers have under maritime laws. At Stevenson & Murray, our maritime injury attorneys can explain how maritime law applies to your case during a free consultation.

Contact Our Maritime Attorneys for More Information

The maritime attorneys at Stevenson & Murray can help you pursue compensation for a maritime injury or death. We have a proven record of helping our clients. For more information on our previous cases, continue exploring our website.

To schedule a free consultation with us, dial (713) 597-3836 or use the contact form on our site.

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