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Mark J. Leeds P.A.
Main Office Ft. Lauderdale
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Fast Facts: Maritime Accidents
Here are the Top 10 Facts about Maritime Accidents and Injuries, and the Jones Act.
Maritime Law and the Jones Act provide injured seamen with the right to seek monetary compensation for accidents such as: Steam Burnings; Engine Room Fires; Suffocation caused by Fumes; Falling from Heights; Oil Rig Drilling Platform Incidents; Slipping or Tripping; Defective Stairs; Insufficient Training and Equipment; Crimes on the ship, etc.
In a claim for compensation under the Jones Act, an injured worker will have to prove that the owner of a vessel was negligent and such negligence caused the injury to the vessel’s employee or crew member.
The definition of “vessels” has been construed to incorporate most ships and boats, as well as water-crafts, including offshore and semi-submersible drilling rigs, tug boats, supply watercraft, cruise ships, freight ships, freight boats, industrial fishing ships and, even helicopters.
For vessel employees and crewmembers, there are two things that will determine if injury falls under the Seaman Status defined by the Jones Act: employment status and location of the accident.
A Federal Court in Florida may dismiss a lawsuit against a negligent ship owner/operator if the injured seaman does not report his injury within a reasonable timeframe. Jones Act dispositions do establish that injured workers have three years to file a maritime accident claim for compensation against the corresponding employer.
Unseaworthiness imposes a strict-liability duty of care for a vessel’s employer; an accident that leads to a seaman’s injuries doesn’t need to be foreseeable for liability to exist against the employer. Even a momentary deficient condition makes a vessel unseaworthy.
The determination of seaworthiness for a specific vessel extends to the ship’s hull, cargo equipment, gears and equipment, ropes, and other accessory equipment on the ship; these also include deficient conditions created by fellow employees or even third-parties and contractors.
Claims of unseaworthiness and Jones Act negligence are usually brought together, to allow injured seamen the best chance to obtain compensation.
Determining whether a ship is seaworthy is something that is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and depending on the specific circumstances of the incident. An experienced maritime injury attorney with more than 30 years of experience in personal injury litigation can help make these determinations.
“Maintenance” refers to the daily compensation an injured seaman would’ve received while working on the ship and meant to cover basic expenses like food/shelter, and the rates run anywhere from $15-$50 a day; “Cure” includes compensation for medical treatment, medications, rehabilitation, hospital bills, etc., of the injured seaman during his recovery; Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is the point where an injured seaman cannot get any better and/or his condition cannot improve any further, and as a result, the “maintenance” and “cure” payments cease.