Longshoremen, seamen and commercial fishermen are afforded certain protections under the Jones Act. If you are injured at sea, you will need a knowledgeable attorney at your side to sort out all the complicated minutiae of the law. Luckily, a lawyer at San Diego Injury Law Center can assist you. We can determine if a specific claim falls under state court court jurisdiction. We can also help you learn more about the set of laws associated with cruise ships. We handle cases throughout San Diego County.
The Basics of Maritime Injury Law
The Jones Act
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, provides certain legal rights to seaman that protect their health and livelihood. Under the Jones Act, a seaman who has been injured would have the ability to pursue a case against the ship owner, captain, or other members of their crew. The law, however, is strict on who qualifies as a Jones Act seaman and who is eligible to recover compensation. It is therefore crucial that you talk to lawyers about your case.
Long-shore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Commonly referred to as the Long shore Act or LHWCA, the Long shore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a statutory workers’ compensation scheme enacted in 1927 to provide protection to maritime workers who are not protected by the Jones Act. Currently, the LHWCA provides benefits to more than 500,000 workers for work-related injuries and occupational diseases. This act also provides benefits to the widow, widower, or eligible survivors if an injury or illness leads to a death.
Death on the High Seas Act
In 1920, the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) was enacted by Congress to protect the families of seaman injured while working offshore. Under this law, spouses, children, and other dependents are given the ability to pursue legal action if the loss of their loved one could be linked to the negligence of another. For example, family could pursue a claim if the accident was caused by the unworthiness of a vessel or careless actions of an employer or crew-member.
General Maritime Law
Maritime law is often categorized into two types. The first is the compilation of federal statutes passed over the years (such as the Jones Act); the second is vaguer and consists of “common law,” which has developed naturally by major court decisions. One major component of general maritime law is the doctrine of “maintenance and cure,” which is what provides living expenses, lost wages, and medical care to seamen if they become injured while working offshore.
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