Overcoming Maritime Worker Injury: Best Tools and Resources

Working at the sea can be a dual-bladed sword – it’s both exciting and dangerous. For one, when you are on the ship, the amount of help you can receive can be limited. But that doesn’t mean you won’t receive any support at all.

Maritime worker injury is painfully familiar in this line of work. It can happen due to negligence or a pure accident, and we are here to present what you can in each situation. Know your rights, and stay safe!  

Maintenance and Cure

One of the more critical protections that maritime workers have against injuries is called Maintenance and Cure Law. This law ensures any damage, regardless of negligence, is covered and compensated for.

It’s split into two parts. 

Firstly, maintenance. This covers the everyday living expenses of an injured worker. If an injury prevents you from working and receiving pay, it will include things like rent, utilities, taxes, food, and other expenses associated with household maintenance.

However, be aware that the Maintenance won’t cover any external expenses. It means your internet bill, Netflix subscription, and even your gas won’t be paid for.

The second part is labeled the ‘Cure’ and is more directly related to maritime worker injury.

It covers medical care expenses and bills. The law also extends to additional health-related services, such as physical therapy or transport to and from doctor’s appointments.

Injuries aren’t the only issues covered by Maintenance and Cure. It also includes any illness that develops while you work onboard. It doesn’t have to relate to your direct duties. It’s sufficient that you got sick during your work time on the ship.

The benefits provided by the law will last until maximum medical improvement, also known as MMI.

It’s the point where your health cannot improve anymore. In most cases, it refers to the time when you no longer need the treatments. Your doctor will inform you of what’s your MMI, and you have to abide by it.

The Jones Act

A maritime worker injury might occur not only accidentally. Sometimes it can happen due to the negligence of someone. That’s where the Jones Act comes in. In this case, however, you will have to prove the negligence of the employer yourself.

Seamen are entitled to be provided with proper equipment, medical care, and other essentials while working on a ship.

If the employer doesn’t ensure the correct working order of the equipment, and this causes an injury, you are entitled to reparations.

Other cases that are covered by Jones Act include lack of training for new employees, liquid or oil spill on the deck, requiring employees to work to the point of exhaustion, failure to provide warning signs where appropriate, or even assaults by co-workers.

Under the Jones Act, a seaman can make several claims. If you suffer from physical or mental pain, you can aim for Pain and Suffering Claims. These payments depend on individual cases, and the law doesn’t have a set amount.

Lost Wages Claims ensures the injured worker will receive the payments he would miss by not working, as well as benefits or vacation time.

Additionally, if an injury makes a person unable to work at full capacity in the future, the law addresses the issue as well.

The Jones Act allows a person to receive health-related payments with Medical Costs Claims. This pertains to both present and future expenses. If the injury needs treatment or equipment, you can also get claims for it as well.

You may also aim for punitive damages or even Wrongful Death Claims. Of course, in the last case, it’s not really a payment for maritime worker injury, it becomes a settlement for the remaining family. The amount can encompass medical expenses, funeral costs, or lost wages.

LHWCA

It may be a case that you are not working on the ship itself but still suffer from maritime worker injury. Don’t worry; you’ll be covered as well. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA for short).

You see, to be classified as a seaman, you have to spend a third of your work time in an operation vessel in navigable waters. Such seaman can aim for the Jones Act.

But if you’re working on places nearby the ship, like loading or repair areas, you are entitled to LHWCA. This act is also valid for those contracted by the U.S. to work in other countries, as well as civilians employed by the military.

However, keep in mind you’re not protected by both LHWCA and the Jones Act; you can only benefit from one of them according to your employment.

Maritime Worker Injury Classification

Maritime worker injuries can happen due to a variety of things. Come can be related to the negligence, such as equipment failure due to improper setup or lack of training for newly employed personnel.

But there can also be other types of injuries, one of the most common among them might be Repetitive Motion Disorders. It happens when you make the same motion over again without breaks. It can affect your hips, neck, or even ankles.

Head injuries are hazardous, especially if it’s a closed one (not a cut or a wound). You should seek medical help as soon as the damage occurs, just to be safe.

This is also important to the claims because, with no external proof of injury, you have to maintain proper medical history.

Broken limbs are no less prevalent. You might fall or slip, and the treatment will make you unable to work for a certain period of time.

If you lose a limb, that can impact your entire career. You should seek out payments for any and all of these injuries to carry you through the recovery time.

Ready to Overcome Maritime Worker Injury?

If you’re injured while working on a ship, you are entitled to claims according to the Jones Act or Maintenance and Cure Law.

The Jones Act deals with injuries due to negligence. Maintenance and Cure are related to payments while you are not working.

Those who don’t work directly on the ship can rely on LHWCA. This act aims to protect employees who work in ship-adjacent areas.

Don’t forget: If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to our blog for similar content!