If you work overseas or in a job that takes you off-shore, you know your job is risky. Seafarers encounter rough weather, risky equipment, and harmful chemicals. A good example would be off-shore workers based in Texas. Many firms cut corners to save money, despite being required to safeguard workers. They risk an accident. When they do, they think they can hide behind legal teams to avoid consequences.
Should I Trust my Company?
After years or decades of service, marine employees can develop injuries. It’s not unfair for them to believe their firm will help them. Things should be this way, but they aren’t always. Damage control after an accident. Employers downplay employees’ injuries, compel survivors to sign releases and deny they could have prevented what happened. In certain cases, they utilize 100-year-old legislation to sue survivors and mourning relatives.
If you’re hurt abroad, see a lawyer to learn your rights. Protect your interests. Your corporation has a lawyer looking out for its interests.
Maritime law is one of the world’s oldest legal codes. If you’re hurt offshore, locate a lawyer who can help (see #7). American maritime law is largely federal and dates back to the country’s colonial days. It regulates water operations, mostly offshore work. Maritime law regulates vessel maintenance, offshore worker obligations, and injuries.
Maritime law’s independence is unusual. Offshore laborers and those who support offshore industry are regulated by marine law, not ordinary law. Because of this, the maritime industry is the only one covered by the Jones Act, LHWCA, and Death on the High Seas Act.
How Soon Should I Hire a Maritime Lawyer?
Jones Act or maritime law claimants have three years after the accident to make a claim. This deadline can vary, so call a marine law company even if you’re unsure if too much time has gone by since your accident.
Despite having three years to submit a marine injury claim, wounded workers should receive legal help as soon as possible. Quickly calling a lawyer gives your legal team time to investigate, gather evidence, and develop your case. A marine lawyer will immediately:
- Provide a defense
- Help you settle fairly
- Get the care you need
- Investigate the accident
- Counter the opposition’s misleading assertions
- If needed, sue
Some offshore claims require accident notice within 30 days. LHWCA workers have a year to bring a claim, but only if they notify their employer within 30 days.
How has Offshore Law Changed?
Workers once had problems getting injury compensation. The maritime sector had a centuries-old notion called maintenance and cure, but it only covered compensation until full recovery. If a person was gravely injured and unable to work, their employer only had to compensate them until they fully recovered.
The Jones Act allowed overseas workers to seek full compensation. The Jones Act and similar legislation hold shipowners and employers accountable, which wasn’t feasible in the past. The Jones Act allows employees with persistent impairments to receive compensation for continuous care and lost earnings. Before, people could only use it for acute medical requirements, lost pay, and some living expenditures.
Who Does Maritime Law Cover?
Maritime law extends to American workers aboard American ships. Many rules apply to longshoremen, shipbuilders, harbor workers, and other land-based offshore workers. The Jones Act and Death on the High Seas Act apply to employees aboard vessels, while the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act applies to other marine workers.
What Does Maritime Law Cover?
If a person was hurt by an avoidable accident while working on or supporting a vessel, their lawsuit comes under maritime law. Offshore injury cases include:
- rig explosions
- Unsafe harbors
- Maritime mishaps
- Freighter disasters
- Fishing accidents
Do I Need a Maritime Lawyer?
While every lawyer can try maritime law, not all should. Maritime law is old, complex, and unlike land-based laws. Only trust offshore lawyers who have helped wounded marine employees. If you are based in Texas you will want to contact an offshore lawyer in Texas.
The appropriate lawyer understands maritime law, how it’s employed, and case options. Companies routinely sue accident survivors and limit how much they may receive using the Limitation of Liability Act. A competent marine lawyer can oppose this obsolete legislation abuse.
As noted, expertise is key when picking a marine law company. Hiring a marine lawyer requires dedication. After an accident, normal employees face large firms and an army of attorneys, making a fighting legal firm necessary. The ideal marine lawyer should be prepared to supply case resources and have a reputation for beating the biggest firms in court.