The maritime industry can be a difficult and dangerous place in which to work. You need a hazard-free environment and coworkers you can trust at all times to stay safe. You also need an employer that you know is looking out for you. When these things do not work out and disaster strikes, a maritime employer may be found at fault for the injuries and damages that result. An experienced maritime law attorney can help you understand how negligence works and what rights you have as an employee if you suffered injuries and damages during a maritime accident.
The Jones Act and Negligence
In most other types of workplaces, a personal injury claim would be handled under state or federal workers’ compensation laws. However, maritime personal injuries work much differently. When a worker is injured at sea or in port, under the Jones Act he or she may sue his or her employer for negligence.
The Jones Act has a much stricter and broader set of standards that employers must follow, and just like in personal injury claims, negligence is considered failing to act or acting in a manner that could be reasonably foreseen to cause harm. However, negligence under the Jones Act extends much further than a typical personal injury claim and includes the following:
- Every person on board the vessel must be properly trained.
- Every piece of equipment on board must be inspected and maintained at regular intervals.
- Hazardous weather conditions must be avoided while at sea.
- Workspaces above and below the deck must be kept free of hazards regardless of how the hazards got there.
- Adequate supervision must always be maintained.
- Reasonable working hours must be provided.
- Arguments between crew members must be descaled to avoid confrontations.
The Burden of Proof
Another aspect of maritime aspects lies in the burden of proof. In regular personal injury accidents, such as car accidents, you would typically have to prove that the actions of the defendant were the reason for your injuries. However, when proving a claim for compensation under the Jones Act, all that is required for the burden of proof is so-called “featherweight” proof. This means that you will only need to prove that the negligence of the employer had even a little part in the accident.
If you have suffered injuries during a maritime accident, you may seek compensation for your injuries from your employer. These damages are similar to any damages you might seek in a standard personal injury lawsuit. They may include medical bills, mental anguish, loss of present and future wages, and expenses relating to your recovery.
In addition to these standard expenses, you may be able to sue the owner of the vessel in a separate lawsuit of unseaworthiness under certain circumstances. An experienced maritime law attorney can help you get the compensation that you deserve and know how to fight to prove negligence.
Contact an Experienced Maritime Law Attorney Today
If you have been injured at sea or in a port, do not wait to get the compensation that you deserve. Contact the experienced attorneys at Kolodny Law Firm today. We specialize in maritime law and will help you get your life back on track as quickly as possible after an accident.
(image courtesy of Maximilian Weisbecker)