Thousands of employees are injured every year aboard boats, barges, and other vessels at sea. The men and women who are injured while working on vessels anchored or navigating in the waters adjacent to the United States must understand that their injuries fall under a unique set of laws. Maritime law, not workers’ compensation law, guides courts as they analyze cases related to workplace injuries to seamen.
A federal law known as the Jones Act provides the right to injured workers to seek compensation after slip and fall accidents on maritime vessels. Maritime admiralty law in the United States is governed by federal statute, and State laws do not preempt the Jones Act.
When workers are injured in slip and fall accidents that are the result of someone else’s negligence, they can often recover compensation for their losses. Some of the most common causes of maritime slip and fall accidents include:
• Slippery surfaces
• Loose ropes
• Inadequate lighting
• Inadequate safety equipment
• Improper work surfaces
• Poorly secured equipment
• Inadequate safety training
• Failure to establish proper safety protocols
People who slip and fall in maritime accidents can often sustain serious injuries, including broken bones, sprains and strains, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, and even spinal cord injuries.
Making the mistake of filing a claim under the workers’ compensation system when an injured party has been harmed at sea will delay the time in which the injured party can claim monetary compensation for their injuries. A maritime Jones Act lawyer in Mississippi can help injured parties properly recover for workplace slip and fall accidents at sea.
The Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi
The State of Mississippi is a diverse and thriving part of the United States, and it accommodates some of the largest maritime activity near the Gulf of Mexico. Barges, ships, and other vessels navigate the Mississippi River and other freshwater systems. Maritime activity and shipping are important elements of Mississippi’s economy. Many Mississippians work out of ports in Mississippi and/or the ports of neighboring Louisiana, and these men and women spend vast amounts of time stationed on vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.
Adequate legal representation is necessary when these employees are injured while working on maritime vessels on the Gulf of Mexico. Recovering full and fair monetary compensation for personal injuries is a right ensured by federal law when employees suffer a slip and fall accident due to the negligence of the ship’s operator and/or owner.
If you suffered a slip or fall, you should speak with a Biloxi, Mississippi Maritime/Offshore accident attorney about your rights to compensation as soon as possible.
Getting Compensated For Maritime Offshore Accidents
Some of the most dangerous jobs are those that must be conducted on open water. Sailors, longshoremen, merchant marines, and others work in unpredictable and inherently dangerous environments, and slip and fall accidents often cause serious injuries.
An employer’s or operator’s careless mistake can lead to loss of life and catastrophic injuries. Fractured limbs, severed spinal cords, and severe burns are some of the consequences of negligent behavior in these working conditions
Who Is Responsible?
An injured seaman may receive compensation for personal injuries under the Jones Act when:
● The ship’s owner or other responsible party was negligent, and that negligent act caused or contributed to the the injury to the seaman.
● The vessel was not seaworthy, and the unseaworthy condition was a cause of an injury to the seaman.
Under the Jones Act, an employer can be liable for unsafe conditions on a vessel in navigable waterways. If a seaman suffers an injury while actively working due to the negligence of the employer, owner, or a crew member, then the seaman can file a Jones Act negligence action against the employer.
A Van Cleave Law Maritime/Offshore Injury Lawyer Can Help
When you are injured on the job, it is important to get the medical help you need right away, especially since catastrophic injuries require emergency medical attention. After your condition is stable, it is time to worry about how you will cover your medical expenses and other losses, which can be extensive. The good news is that The Jones Act holds the employer or the vessel owner liable for any injury that was caused or contributed to by the employer’s or vessel owner’s negligence. Unlike onshore worker’s comp claims, injured offshore and maritime employees have a right to sue the owner or employer for damages. These claims and suits use different standards than ordinary State law negligence claims, so it is important to have an experienced Mississippi Jones Act lawyer to protect your rights.
Damages that can be recovered under the Jones Act include:
• Medical expenses –including past medical bills, and those you are reasonably likely to incur in the future.
• Wage replacement – including past lost wages and loss of future wage earning capacity.
• Physical Pain and Suffering– including compensation for physical pain and suffering, physical disability, and impairment.
• Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress – including humiliation, embarrassment, worry and concern, feelings of economic insecurity, and inconvenience.
• Wrongful Death Damages that are recoverable include damages for loss of financial support, loss of nurture and guidance to minor children, loss of service, and pre-death pain and suffering.
Additionally, injured workers can recover Maintenance and Cure – essentially a stipend to cover food and shelter and care while their claim is progressing. In some cases, where Maintenance and Cure is improperly denied, punitive damages may be recovered.
Contact Van Cleave Law Today
Slip and fall accident claims under the Jones Act are different from standard State Law personal injury or workers’ compensation claims, and can be complicated — especially when they involve catastrophic injuries. The Maritime/Offshore Injury Team at Van Cleave Law is ready to assist with every aspect of your claim from beginning to end. Call (228) 432-7826 or contact us online for a free case evaluation today.