When maritime workers get injuries on the job, their filing for compensation is not similar to most other workers. There are federal and state laws falling under the Jones Act and the general maritime law designed specifically for maritime workers. These laws affect workers such as longshoremen, deckhands, seamen, crew workers, commercial fishermen, and any other worker whose job revolves around the maritime industry.
It is essential for maritime workers and their loved ones to understand these laws. Understanding these laws puts them better positioned to recognize the compensations attached to workplace injuries in the maritime industry. Furthermore, understanding these laws makes it even easier for such workers or their loved ones to recognize the right channels to use when trying to get their compensation.
Compensation Resulting in Unseaworthiness Injuries
In the maritime industry, a vessel that lacks the basic safety requirements for seamen’s work safety is called an unseaworthy vessel. Any particular missing safety equipment per the requirement results in a vessel being deemed unseaworthy. It might be lacking the necessary safety equipment or requirements or have defective or poor-quality products and equipment. For example, when a broken ladder or old work machinery is left lying around or lacks warning signs in certain areas, the vessel will be deemed unseaworthy. If workers on such a vessel are injured at work, they are liable to receive compensation under the Jones Act and the general maritime laws.
If the employer fails to give the employee the required worker’s compensation, they can sue them. To do so, they will be required to seek the services of a maritime workers compensation attorney.
What Compensation Rights Do Maritime Workers Have?
Before diving into the specifics of a maritime worker’s compensation attorney, it is important to understand the compensation rights maritime workers are entitled to if injured in the workplace.
Maritime Worker’s Rights of Maintenance and Cure
Maritime workers have the right to receive maintenance and care rights when injured in their work, regardless of whether the injury happened due to their negligence or their employer’s negligence. The maintenance and cure rights allow them to receive medical care and a daily living allowance throughout the injury. Furthermore, a full bill of health, with the healthcare provider’s signature, ought to be presented before the end of the maintenance and cure period.
Lost Wages and Future Lost Wages
Besides, maritime workers are also entitled to lost wages and compensation. Under the general maritime law and the Jones Act, all seamen are subject to lost wages compensation when injured at work on the condition that the injury was a result of the other party’s negligence. The lost wage compensation covers the current earnings that the maritime worker could have made and lost future earning capacity and the lost future earnings resulting from the injury. There are several factors pertaining to how the future earning capacity is determined. Some of these factors include expected promotions and wage increments and the estimated work-life expectancy.
Alaska Fishermen’s Fund
In Alaska, fishermen who hold a commercial license for fishing, or a limited entry permit, may qualify for the Alaska Fishermen’s Funds set up for workers injured during maritime work. These funds are separated from other maritime compensation funds. It is not quite easy to get these funds because there are specific requirements for qualification. Typically, these funds are used as the last option when other compensation channels have either been exhausted or failed.
These laws are under the federal government, and they are entitled to workers in the maritime industry. As a maritime worker, you are entitled to workers’ compensation under the general maritime laws and the Jones Act. If you have trouble accessing your compensation, you can seek the services of a maritime workers’ compensation attorney, and you will get help going through the legal process to receive your compensation.