Injuries to Maritime Workers

A Renton Maritime Injury Lawyer Discusses Workplace Injuries

In this article, a Renton maritime injury lawyer examines the types of compensation to which workers in the maritime industry are entitled when they are injured in the course of their duties.

Types Of Maritime Workers

Essentially, this boils down to seamen and everybody else. A seaman is someone whose primary functions are carried out on a boat or ship under navigation. He or she may be the captain of the vessel or one of the crew, but the majority of his or her time is spent on the water. The other category includes dockworkers, longshoremen or people otherwise employed at the harbor.

When A Seaman Is Hurt On The Job

Workers’ compensation does not apply to injured seamen. This does not mean, however, that an injured seaman has no recourse. It simply means that compensation for his or her injuries comes from different sources. There are, in fact, three sources from which compensation can be obtained for injured seamen. These include the Jones Act, maintenance and cure, and unseaworthiness.

Suing Under The Jones Act

This legislation allows an injured seaman to hold the ship owner responsible for injuries sustained while working on the vessel on charges of negligence. A suit for negligence charges that the ship owner has failed to ensure that the ship is being maintained such that the applicable safety regulations are observed and enforced and ordinary hazards are minimized. In other words, every reasonable precaution must be taken to ensure the safety of all aboard. If it can be shown that negligence had even the smallest bearing on the seaman’s injuries, he or she can sue under the Jones Act.

Suing For Lack Of Seaworthiness

This type of lawsuit charges that the vessel is unsound, or is not sufficiently crewed, powered or maintained such that it represents a reasonably safe work environment. There is a distinct difference between unseaworthiness and negligence. A failure in any of the mechanics, systems or any other part of the ship can render the vessel unseaworthy regardless of the actions of the ship owner. Every part of the ship must be sufficient to its purpose.

Suing For Maintenance And Cure

Maritime law places the responsibility of an injured seaman’s care on the shoulders of his or her employer. Whether the seaman was or was not at fault is not the issue. The ship owner must provide the seaman with room and board during recuperation and pay for certain of the injured seaman’s financial obligations. This includes his or her food, home mortgage or rent, and other basic necessities. These responsibilities are part of the seaman’s maintenance. Payment of medical bills is also required until the injured seaman achieves “maximum medical improvement.” This is referred to as “cure.”

Other Maritime Workers

Dock workers, harbor employees and longshoremen are covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which functions in a similar manner to traditional workers’ compensation. There are, however, some significant differences. The Longshore Act covers permanent partial disability and benefits tend to be higher, where standard workers’ compensation benefits are lower and permanent partial disability compensation may be excluded.

For Help Or More Information

If you are a maritime worker who has been injured, don’t wait. Engage the services of Edward K. Le PLLC Attorneys at Law, your Renton maritime injury lawyer, today.