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After Injuries at Sea, Maritime Workers Are Often Not Aware of Their Rights

Feel like you've been misinformed about your rights as a maritime worker? You're not alone.

Owners and operators of ships and rigs are known to provide (intentionally or not) incorrect information to maritime workers, especially after an accident at sea or on land. Why? Shipping and drilling companies are in business to make money, not necessarily to pay the full compensation that is owed to injured workers. Make no mistake, though: injured maritime workers have rights.

Here are some important things maritime workers should know about The Jones Act.

If you were injured while in service to a ship in navigable waters, under The Jones Act you are entitled specifically to three things: transportation, maintenance and cure.

Those benefits break down like this:

  • Transportation: A benefit that can cover a wide variety of costs, including transportation to a hospital by helicopter, ambulance or another form of transportation. This benefit may also cover repatriation costs if an injured seaman needs to return to his home in another country.
  • Maintenance: This refers to the value of what an injured seaman's daily costs, including food and shelter, would have been if the injury had not occurred. As an injured seaman, you are entitled to compensation equal to the value of those costs.
  • Cure: This benefit means that the owner or operator of a ship is required to cover your medical expenses until you are returned to a maximum level of health. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, the cost of cure could include a wide variety of expenses such as surgery, prescription medications, physical therapy, in-home nursing care and medical equipment.

How do shipping and drilling companies try to minimize or eliminate compensation for injured seamen?

One way that companies try to keep seamen from receiving due compensation is by getting them to sign inaccurate incident reports. For more on that, please see our previous post, "Why You Should Wait to Sign an Incident Report after a Maritime Accident."

If you have questions or concerns about any of these matters, do not hesitate to contact an experienced admiralty and maritime lawyer.

Located in Gulf Breeze, Florida, the Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A., represents injured maritime workers worldwide. If you were injured at sea or on land, we can help.

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