Have you or a loved one been involved in a maritime injury? Whether it’s a slip and fall, an injury due to working with unsafe equipment, another common maritime injury, or even death, you are covered by the law.
Whether you work in the offshore industry or in the military, injuries and fatalities that occur at sea are covered under maritime (or admiralty) law. Maritime law injuries are covered by three specific statutes that have been put in place by the U.S. Congress to protect maritime workers and provide compensation in the event of an accident or death on the job.
The three statutes are the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Death on the High Seas Act.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is a maritime statute that regulates maritime commerce in the United States. It requires that all goods shipped within the United States are transported to and from U.S. ports on ships that are built, owned, and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It was originally enacted by Congress to ignite the shipping industry during World War I. In addition to regulating U.S. maritime commerce; it gives rights to seamen to seek damages from a crew, captain, or shipowner, in the case of injury.
For a maritime injury to be covered under the Jones Act, the maritime worker must be a seaman, which means that they are a crew member or a captain who spends a significant amount of time, during work, on a vessel that is in navigation. For a vessel to be considered in navigation, the ship or boat must meet four requirements: it must be afloat, in operation, capable of moving, and on navigable waters.
Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal maritime statute that focuses on payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation to workers that have been injured or disabled during a maritime job. It is commonly referred to as the Longshore Act, and it was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1927.
Unlike the Jones Act, the LHWCA covers injuries that occur both on U.S. navigable waters and in the adjoining areas, such as loading and unloading docks and during the repairing and building of vessels. The types of occupations within these areas include longshore workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders, ship-breakers, and harbor construction workers. The LHWCA also covers non-maritime workers’ injuries, if the injury occurred on navigable U.S. water.
In the case of a maritime worker’s death, LHWCA covers the payment of survivor benefits to dependents. Some injuries that are covered include occupational diseases, hearing loss, and illnesses caused by a maritime job.
Death On The High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act is a maritime statute enacted by the 66th U.S. Congress on March 30, 1920. It covers the death of an individual caused by a wrongful act, negligence, unseaworthiness, or default that occurred on the high seas, also known as international waters. High seas are defined as three nautical miles or beyond from the U.S. shore.
The Death on the High Seas Act gives the deceased person’s personal representative the right to take legal action against the person or vessel that is responsible for the death, for the benefit of the deceased person’s spouse, parent, child, or dependent relative. The amount of compensation the beneficiary is to receive is determined by the court.
The Death on the High Seas Act also covers airline accidents over the high seas, which occur beyond 12 nautical miles or U.S. territorial waters.
How A Top Maritime Lawyer Can Help
In the event that you or a loved one has been involved in a maritime injury or even a maritime death, it is important to have an experienced maritime lawyer to help you get every bit of compensation that you deserve. It can be daunting to try to decipher all aspects of the accident, the statues you are covered under, and the amount of compensation that you should be given, on your own.
Aaron Perry, PLLC, and his knowledgeable law team can help you figure out what statute you’re covered under and help you find out how much compensation you are qualified to receive. We can start with a free consultation to review all aspects of your case, review the laws you are covered under, and decide what the next steps are to take action.