Maritime accident cases and injuries occur on and around navigable waters. Any time injured longshoremen, harbor workers, shipyard workers, or seamen suffer on-the-job injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and losses due to federal maritime laws.
With that in mind, here is more about some common recoverable damages you can recover after a maritime accident.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Benefits
Under Federal maritime laws, when certain naval employees are involved in on-the-job accidents, they may be entitled to specific amounts of financial support and benefits due to their work-related injury. However, they often require the help of an experienced maritime lawyer when attempting to get the insurance company to compensate them fairly.
Most maritime workers are covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). If you are considered a shipbuilder, maritime construction worker, forklift operator, harbor worker, longshoreman, or any other eligible maritime employee, you can file a claim under the LHWCA.
The benefits you can collect are similar to the workers’ compensation benefits you might be eligible for if you were injured in another field. Some of the benefits you can collect under the LHWCA once your claim is approved include the following:
- Coverage of maritime injury medical expenses
- Compensation for a portion of your lost income, usually approximately 2/3 of your average weekly salary
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits if your injuries are so severe you will need to go back to school or obtain further job training to reenter the workforce
- Death benefits to deceased maritime injury employees’ surviving family members
Typically, LHWCA benefits are available until injured maritime workers reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) or can return to work. However, these may be converted to lifetime benefits if their injuries permanently prevent them from returning to work in any industry.
Jones Act Benefits
Certain types of maritime employees are not eligible for LHWCA benefits. Maritime workers classified as seamen may be entitled to compensation and benefits under the federal Jones Act. When a seaman suffers critical injuries or illness at work, they could be awarded maintenance and cure.
Maintenance payments allow for coverage of injured seamen’s necessary living expenses. This might include:
- Utility payments
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Internet expenses
- Groceries or food costs
- Other household necessities
- Vehicle payments
Cure benefits provide medical coverage to injured seamen after a maritime accident. This means they will not have to cover any of the healthcare costs related to their injuries. Some examples of medical expenses that could be covered include:
- Diagnostic testing fees
- Ambulance costs
- Medical equipment and devices, including prosthetic limbs or wheelchairs
- Household accommodations
- Prescription medications and co-pays
- The cost of their hospital stay
- Any future medical expenses related to the maritime injury
Injured Maritime Workers Deserve Maximum Restitution
When maritime workers suffer debilitating injuries or illness due to a work accident or dangerous work environment, they are entitled to compensation and benefits under the Jones Act or the Harbor Workers Compensation Act. Those who take action pursuing maritime injury claims have the best opportunity to recover compensation for their injuries and losses.
Compensation for Property Losses
Compensation for property losses is a crucial element in maritime accident cases. Property losses refer to the damage sustained by vessels, cargo, and other property as a result of a maritime accident. This damage can have severe financial consequences for the owners of the affected property, making it essential to obtain compensation.
Types of Compensation for Property Losses
There are several types of compensation available for property losses in maritime accident cases. These include:
- Damage to vessels ─ This type of compensation covers the cost of repairs to vessels that are damaged in an accident.
- Cargo losses ─ Compensation for cargo losses covers the value of any goods that are lost or damaged as a result of a maritime accident.
- Salvage costs ─ In some cases, a vessel may need to be salvaged following an accident. Salvage costs refer to the expenses incurred in retrieving the vessel and any cargo.
Factors Impacting Compensation
Several factors can impact the amount of compensation awarded for property losses in maritime accident cases. These include:
- The extent of the damage sustained ─ The severity of the damage sustained by the property will have a significant impact on the amount of compensation awarded.
- Insurance coverage ─ The amount of insurance coverage available for the property will impact the amount of compensation awarded.
- Contributory negligence ─ If the owner of the property contributed to the accident in any way, the amount of compensation awarded may be reduced.
The Role of Insurance
Role of insurance is a critical component in maritime accident cases. Insurance provides protection to vessel owners, cargo owners, and other parties against financial losses resulting from accidents or other events. In the context of maritime accidents, insurance can cover a wide range of losses, including property damage, bodily injury, and even pollution.
Types of Insurance
There are several types of insurance available in the maritime industry. These include:
- Hull and machinery insurance ─ This type of insurance covers damage to the vessel and its equipment, including the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance ─ P&I insurance provides coverage for liability arising from personal injury, cargo damage, and pollution.
- Cargo insurance ─ This type of insurance covers loss or damage to the cargo being transported.
- Pollution liability insurance ─ Pollution liability insurance provides coverage for the cost of cleaning up oil spills and other environmental damage caused by a maritime accident.
Limitations of Insurance
While insurance provides valuable protection against financial losses in the event of a maritime accident, there are limitations to its coverage. For example, insurance may not cover losses resulting from intentional acts, such as piracy or smuggling. Additionally, insurance coverage may be limited by the terms of the policy, such as the deductible or coverage limits.
The Claims Process
The claims process for seeking compensation in maritime accident cases involves filing a claim with the relevant parties, such as insurance companies or responsible parties, and negotiating a settlement. It is important to work with legal counsel to ensure that the claim is properly documented and that the rights of the claimant are protected.