A Brief Look at the Different Types of Offshore Claims

Offshore workers and their families are entitled to certain rights and protections under maritime law. When such workers sustain injuries, the law provides them with an opportunity to recover certain kinds of damages for those injuries. It is important for workers to know and understand their legal options. An offshore injury lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. will discuss possible avenues for recovery with an injured worker and his or her family and consider the best possible course of action.

Generally, there are four possible ways in which most injured offshore workers and their families can recover. However, individuals should note that many factors must be considered when determining which method is best to use based on the specific facts of the case that caused the worker’s injury or illness. For instance, one must consider the kind of work being done at the time of the accident or the occurrence of the illness, along with where the accident or illness took place.

If an offshore worker has been injured or killed due to a maritime-related accident, he or she (or his or her loved ones) may be entitled to recovery under general maritime law, the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act or the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Recovery Under Maritime Law

Over the years, maritime law was developed through common law and various court decisions. Today, the laws offer certain maritime workers benefits and protections. Some of the more significant developments in the law include ship owners’ obligations to provide seaworthy vessels, as well as maintenance and cure.

Vessel seaworthiness refers to the duty that owners have to properly maintain and equip their vessels. If an offshore worker or other type of seaman is hurt or becomes sick due to a vessel being deemed unseaworthy, the owner of that vessel can be held legally responsible for the worker’s damages. If you believe you have sustained injury or illness due to a vessel’s unseaworthiness, let a Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. lawyer help you protect your rights.

The Jones Act

Maritime workers undertake many dangerous jobs that have a very high risk of injury. Under the Jones Act, seamen who are hurt or become ill as a result of their job duties are entitled to sue their employers if it can be demonstrated that the vessel owner or another crew member negligently caused their injury or death. Injured individuals and/or their loved ones may be entitled to file claims under the Jones Act, and working with a knowledgeable attorney can help such victims obtain the just compensation they deserve.

Death on the High Seas

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) was enacted in 1920 in an effort to protect the legal position of families of seamen who die on international waters due to unseaworthiness or negligence. Under the Act, a seaman’s children, spouse and other dependents are able to pursue damages to cover burial costs, medical bills and lost support, among other things. Such individuals are referred to as dependant survivors. The claims for wrongful death must be brought by the personal representative of the estate. This person can be selected in a will or can be appointed by the court in accordance with state law.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides workers with certain protections related to work-related injuries and occupational diseases. More specifically, the law provides medical care and compensation to those who are disabled by injuries that happened while on U.S. navigable waters or adjoining areas that are used to unload, load, repair and build certain types of vessels.

Some of the workers covered by the Act include longshoremen, harbor workers, ship builders, ship breakers and ship repairers. Seamen who are covered under the Jones Act are not covered under LHWCA. State workers compensation my also be an alternative. This is a very tricky area of the law known at the twilight zone.

If you have questions or concerns about which legal avenue may be your best course of action, contact an injury lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. today.