Employees in the maritime industry who are injured or killed on the job do not utilize the same workers’ compensation system that applies to most other workers in the United States. Instead, an injured worker or the family of a deceased worker may file a claim through either the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) or the Jones Act.
The LHWCA and the Jones Act are mutually exclusive federal laws that provide compensation for different kinds of maritime employees. The Jones Act applies to seamen, or masters or members of a crew, while the LHWCA is designed to cover people who are not crew members but whose injuries occur on navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining areas such as terminals, piers, wharves, docks, and areas used for loading and unloading vessels.
If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a maritime or longshore accident in Maryland, you will want to quickly retain legal counsel. An experienced attorney can immediately assist in dealing with several of the entities that may contact you about your case.
CHASENBOSCOLO has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of clients. We can explore all of your legal options as soon as you call (301) 220-0050 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
Do I Need A Maritime and Longshore Injury Lawyer?
It is usually beneficial for a person to have an attorney as soon as possible after an accident because they will inevitably be contacted soon after their injuries by other parties who were involved in their incident. For example, the owner of a vessel may try to discourage a person from filing a claim.
Similarly, an insurance company for a negligent party may also reach out to discuss your accident. You should always refuse any offer to provide a recorded statement to an insurer or its claims adjuster.
In some cases, the insurance company may be attempting to get you to unknowingly accept fault for certain aspects of your accident. Your own negligence could then be used to reduce or deny your injury claim.
In other cases, an insurer may offer you what seems like a large lump sum settlement. You should know that these amounts are usually not enough to cover all of the future costs victims will incur, and a lawyer will be able to determine what your case is actually worth and then fight to recover as much of that amount as possible.
Why Choose CHASENBOSCOLO To Handle My Case?
CHASENBOSCOLO has made taking care of our clients our top priority ever since our founding in 1986. We have grown from our founding partners to now include a team of 25 lawyers and more than 90 professionals with over 100 years of combined legal experience.
Our staff is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You will never have to worry about calling us too late or too early, as we can address your concerns at any time of the day.
Barry M. Chasen has received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell and was named to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers in 2013. Benjamin T. Boscolo also received an AV Preeminent rating and has been a workers compensation panelist for the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).
When you choose CHASENBOSCOLO, you will also receive the No Fee Guarantee® that eliminates your need to pay for anything unless you receive a monetary award. We will seek a just settlement to your case and file a lawsuit if an insurance company does not make an acceptable offer.
Types of Maritime and Longshore Injury Cases We Handle
Maritime workers can suffer a wide range of injuries that may include, but are not limited to:
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Head Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Muscle Strains
- Nerve Damage
- Internal Organ Damage
In some cases, workers may suffer fatal injuries. The families of workers killed by the negligence of other parties can recover compensation from negligent parties in many cases.
The types of accidents people are involved in can vary depending on the vessel and other circumstances. Some of the most common kinds of maritime and longshore injury cases we handle include, but are not limited to:
- Fishing Accidents
- Offshore Oil Rig Accidents
- Dock, Pier, and Shipyard Accidents
- Commercial Fishing Accidents
- Oil Tanker and Cargo Ship Accidents
- Recreational Boating Accidents
- Cruise Ship Accidents
- Ferry Accidents
- Tugboat and Barge Accidents
- Crane Accidents
- Dredging Accidents
- Crab Boat Accidents
- Shipping Accidents
- Container Ship Accidents
The LHWCA covers employees in traditional maritime occupations such as harbor construction workers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, ship-repairers, and longshore workers, but non-maritime employees can be covered when they work on and their injuries occur on navigable water. The LHWCA includes other types of employees under such Congressional extensions as the Defense Base Act (DBA), Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA).
The LHWCA specifically excludes seamen or the masters or members of a crew of any vessel (who are covered under the Jones Act), employees of the federal or any state or foreign government, employees injured by their own intoxication, and employees injured because of their own willful intention to harm themselves or others. The LHWCA also excludes certain individuals covered by state workers’ compensation law.
Frequently Asked Questions About Maritime and Longshore Injury
If you’ve been hurt in an accident offshore, you likely have questions about your rights, your legal options, and what type of compensation you might be owed. We are here to answer any questions you may have, and help you get back on the road to recovery. Contact us at (301) 220-0050 to discuss the specifics of your case, and read a few of our FAQs below:
What should I do if I am involved in a maritime or longshore accident?
You should always make sure to receive immediate medical care after any kind of maritime or longshore accident. You are free to choose the doctor you want to treat you, but be sure to visit some hospital so you can be sure that you did not suffer an injury that may involve delayed symptoms. Use your cell phone or an actual camera to take pictures of everything that was involved in your accident. Get the names and phone numbers of any people who witnessed your accident. Report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Do not discuss your accident with anybody until you have lawyer. Be especially careful not to discuss your accident on a social media account.
What is unseaworthiness?
Unseaworthiness is a separate element from negligence, although it is very similar. A vessel may be in an unseaworthy condition if it has any part, piece of equipment, or even a crew member that does not provide seamen with a safe and suitable place to work. The owner of a vessel has an obligation to provide all employees with a seaworthy vessel, and an injured worker only needs to prove that some element of the vessel made it unseaworthy and caused their injuries.
What is maintenance and cure?
Employers are required to provide for the maintenance and cure of injured employees. Maintenance refers to food, lodging, and an employee’s day-to-day living expenses, while cure applies to their medical costs. Many employers pay much less in maintenance than is necessary to cover the costs of rent, but an attorney will help make sure you are receiving adequate medical payments. Similarly, some employers may demand employees undergo independent medical examinations (IMEs) in order to receive cure, and you should again seek a lawyer’s help in navigating these issues.
Maritime and Longshore Injury Statistics
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC)reported that there are over 3,700 marine terminals and 1,400 intermodal connections in the United States. Approximately 98,000 marine terminal and longshoring workers are employed at ports across the nation, and fatal injuries occurred at a rate of 17.2 per 100,000\ workers.
According to the CDC, over 400,000 people across the country are employed in the maritime industry. The fatality rate for the water transportation industry is 4.7 times higher than the rate for all American workers and commercial fishing has a fatality rate that is 29 times higher than the national average.
A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)evaluation of the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act (CFIVSA) of 1988 found that safety requirements contributed to 94 percent of the commercial fishermen surviving vessel disasters during 1997-1999. Vessel disasters were the leading cause of fatalities among commercial fishermen and accounted for 50 percent of fatalities in the United States between 2000 and 2014.
NIOSH reported that on-deck injuries account for the largest number of non-fatal injuries requiring hospitalization in the nation and 12 percent of fatal injuries in commercial fishing. Falls overboard were the second leading cause of death among commercial fisherman, and NIOSH stated that none of the 210 victims involved in falls overboard between 2000 and 2014 were wearing personal floatation devices.
The Insurance Information Institute (III)reported that 1,163 people were killed in marine accidents in 2017. The victims included 22 freighters killed in two events, 1,087 victims killed in 27 events involving passenger ships, and 54 victims killed in two other maritime accidents.
Contact a Maritime and Longshore Injury Attorney in Maryland
Did you sustain serious injuries or was your loved one killed in a maritime or longshore accident in Maryland? Do not wait to seek legal representation for assistance obtaining all of the compensation you need and deserve.
CHASENBOSCOLO understands the complexities of maritime law and can fight to make sure that the negligent party is held accountable for your injuries. Call (301) 220-0050 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.