Those who work at sea or in a harbor know all too well the high-risk nature of being a seaman. Unlike other industries, when seamen suffer an injury, they are not protected by workers’ compensation laws.
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However, these workers may be eligible to pursue compensation for their damages under maritime laws. Our Grand Rapids maritime lawyers are well-versed in these laws, and we are prepared to assess your eligibility for a claim at no charge or obligation to you.
At Jay Trucks and Associates, we have been advocating for the injured in Michigan for over 30 years. During that time, we have recovered more than $500 million in compensation for our clients. If you have a valid case, we are prepared to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. There are no upfront costs to hire our services and we accept maritime cases on contingency, which means that you pay us nothing unless we are successful in getting compensation for your damages.
Free Consultation. Ph: (800) 762-8623.
What is The Jones Act?
The Jones Act provides compensation for qualifying maritime workers who, much like workers’ compensation, were injured in a work-related accident. However, unlike a workers’ compensation claim, eligible workers are not barred from suing an employer or even another maritime employee if the injured seaman can prove their injury was caused by:
- Malicious or willful misconduct
- Failure to adhere to maritime laws for safe navigation of vessels
Building a strong argument for negligence under The Jones Act is complicated, which is why we recommend that you seek legal help from a qualified Grand Rapids marine injury attorney from our firm.
Complete our Free Case Evaluation form to get started.
Who May Qualify For Compensation Under The Jones Act?
During your free initial consultation, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to discuss your eligibility to pursue compensation under The Jones Act. However, generally speaking, you may qualify to pursue a claim for a work-related marine injury if a minimum of 30 percent of your duties are performed on a qualifying vessel that is on navigable waters.
For a vessel to be in navigation, it must be capable of traveling on the water, but could also be docked in the harbor or under repair. If, however, the vessel is still under construction, it is not considered navigable under the law.
Specific types of employees who may qualify under The Jones Act include:
Other employees, including clerical workers and other support staff, are excluded from pursuing compensation under this law.
Contact Jay Trucks and Associates today: (800) 762-8623
Proving Negligence in a Jones Act Case
Under The Jones Act, you are required to establish another’s negligence to recover compensation for your damages. However, unlike a personal injury claim, maritime workers do not need to prove that negligence was the primary cause of their injuries, only that it was a contributing factor.
Examples of marine hazardous conditions due to negligence of an employer or co-worker could include:
- Inadequate training of other marine workers
- Failure to have a working fire extinguisher on-board
- Failure to properly perform equipment maintenance
- Lack of crew supervision, including failure to enforce safety regulations
- Neglecting to conduct safety inspections according to acceptable standards
- Failure to install safety features, such as handrails or tread strips on ladders and stairs
- Neglecting to address dangerous conditions, such as slippery or wet floors
Our Grand Rapids marine accident lawyers are prepared to investigate your accident and help gather supporting evidence to build a strong argument on your behalf. Qualified lawyers typically recover larger compensation awards than injured victims who try to pursue a claim on their own.
When Might a Ship Owner Be Liable For My Injuries?
There are certain circumstances that may allow you to hold a ship owner liable for your injuries. According to maritime law, if an injury happens on a vessel because the ship owner failed to take reasonable steps to maintain a safe work environment for marine employees, then he or she may be liable for resulting damages.
However, under the Limitation of Liability Act, the law permits reduced liability for damages or losses that happened without the ship owner’s knowledge.
Our Grand Rapids marine injury attorneys are prepared to investigate whether there was a known hazardous condition that created an unsafe work environment. It is not necessary to prove the entire ship was unseaworthy, only the location where your accident happened, such as if a stairway became unsafe because of a broken or missing handrail.
Wondering if your marine injury is covered? Contact our firm today for answers: (800) 762-8623
Benefits Provided Under The Jones Act
Marine workers who are eligible may be able to pursue compensation for economic damages, which may include:
- Related medical bills
- Prescribed medications related to your injuries
- Surgical interventions
- Lost wages if you cannot work while recovering
- Loss of future earning capacity if you are unable to return to work
Other, less tangible, non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering – Not just for physical pain, these damages also provide compensation for emotional distress, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and disfigurement.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – Compensation if your injury prevents from being able to participate in activities that you once enjoyed, such as hiking with your family, playing a musical instrument or participating in sports.
Additional benefits employers are required to provide for eligible claims under The Jones Act could include temporary income to cover the full cost of certain living expenses while you are recovering:
- Mortgage or rent payments
- Utility bills
- Home insurance
- Other expenses normally covered by your wages
At Jay Trucks and Associates, our trusted marine accident lawyers are prepared to assess your potential claim and answer any legal questions you may have about pursuing damages under The Jones Act.
What Maritime Workers May Not Qualify Under The Jones Act?
Not all harbor or maritime workers may qualify for compensation under The Jones Act, either because the job role does not qualify or because the worker’s duties do not require them to spend at least 30 percent of their work time in a navigable vessel.
If you are unsure whether you may qualify for a Jones Act claim, we can assess your situation and discuss your potential legal actions in a free claim review.
What Is The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides workers’ compensation benefits under federal law to certain types of marine workers not covered under The Jones Act. These include a variety of job roles, including:
- Harbor construction employees
- Ship repair workers
- Ship breakers
- Others, responsible for moving goods between ships
- Truck drivers who transport supplies to ships
Workers that are excluded from pursuing an injury claim under the LHWCA includes:
- Security staff
- Administrative support
- Aquaculture employees
- Museum, club and camp employees
- Workers covered under The Jones Act
- Employees eligible for workers’ compensation
- Workers injured while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Workers responsible for unloading vessels that weight less than 18 tons
- Builders constructing a ship that is less than 65 feet in length
If you suffer an injury or occupational disease related to your maritime duties, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for the damages under the LHWCA.
Contact Jay Trucks and Associates to learn more: (800) 762-8623
What Type of Compensation Does the LHWCA Provide?
The benefits provided under the LHWCA are very similar to what you would expect under a workers’ compensation claim.
To begin receiving benefits, your qualifying injury or disability must last three days or longer. If you are still unable to return to work after 14 days or more, you may also be able to recover compensation for the first three days of your injury.
Compensation eligible injured workers may receive under the LHWCA includes:
- Medical costs – Provides for reasonable and related medical costs, including surgeries, prescribed medication, physical therapy, doctor’s appointments and diagnostic testing.
- Partial disability benefits – Pays two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly pre-injury earnings and what you are making now.
- Total disability benefits – Provides two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wages if you suffered the loss of one or more limbs, hands, fingers, toes, eyes or ears. Caps on total disability cannot exceed more than 50 percent of the national average weekly wage.
- Vocation rehabilitation – Programs and services provided to help train and prepare workers for another type of work if their injury prevents them from returning to their former position.
- Death benefits – Compensation provided after a fatal injury. Benefits are capped and cannot be greater than 200 percent of the national average weekly wage.
Contact A Grand Rapids Marine Accident Lawyer Today
LHWCA claims and claims filed under The Jones Act can be complex, requiring an attorney with extensive knowledge of maritime laws to ensure your best interests are protected throughout the legal process.
At Jay Trucks and Associates, we have decades of experience representing and achieving successful recoveries for injured victims in Grand Rapids and other cities throughout Michigan. We are committed to our clients and pursuing maximum compensation on their behalf. Read more some of our 250 five-star reviews to see what other satisfied clients have to say.
There is no risk to you, since we operate on a contingency model. This means no upfront costs to you, and no fees paid to us unless we are successful on your behalf.
Jay Trucks and Associates.
Legal help for you. (800) 762-8623