Maritime law, sometimes known as admiralty law, exists to protect the workers who face very specific and hazardous conditions performing their jobs on and/or near the sea. Maritime law recognizes the risks these men and women encounter every day and defines their legal rights, such as the right to medical care, when injured in a maritime accident.
The Cape May maritime lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. can assist you if you were injured in a maritime or offshore accident. Since the firm’s beginnings in 1945, we have fought for the rights of merchant seaman and longshoremen. Our contributions to maritime law include a case that changed the law for the benefit of merchant seamen and longshoremen, Seas Shipping Co. v. Sieracki, 328 U.S. 85, as well as cases argued successfully before the Supreme Court. The complexities of maritime law require legal representation that is well-versed in its nuances and procedures. You may work on the sea, near the sea, or in both capacities, and you are covered by many of the same statutes that protect sailors.
Who We Represent
Our maritime lawyers have successfully recovered compensation for countless injured individuals, as well as families of those who have lost their lives at sea, including:
Workers who are classified as seamen are protected under the Jones Act, which gives rights to maritime workers who are on or near the water and qualify as seamen based on their job description. If you believe that you were classified improperly, we will first ensure if you were apprised of your rights and if you were supervised properly by your employer. If you were not classified in such a way, you are still given rights under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Because this is not the same procedure as a typical Workers’ Compensation claim, we ask that you contact us immediately. The Defense Base Act may also be used to prove you have a legal claim if you were injured on a military base.
If you lost a loved one, you may not know what their classification was. You may have bits and pieces of information that call into question your loved one’s death, and that is why you should reach out to us for a consultation. You still have the right to file a wrongful death claim for the negligence of your loved one’s employer or the manufacturer. We will determine how your loved one should be represented, and we will build a case using our experience.
What are Employers Required to Do?
You should be made aware of your rights when you begin any job near or on the water. Your employer, however, may not have told you everything you need to know about your job protections. Americans often assume that injuries and deaths on the job are part of the cycle of life, but that could not be further from the truth. You deserve to be compensated when you know that your employer was negligent, the manufacturer of a product you were using was negligent, or you were not given the appropriate care under maritime law after an injury or accident.
Maritime law governs all activities that occur on the water. Maritime law often supersedes federal law because the statutes are not the same. Maritime law is a combination of old doctrines, federal laws, modern ideas, and the knowledge that working on the sea is extremely dangerous.
When you reach out to us for help, we can provide you with representation for incidents including:
- Accidents on cruise ships involving passengers and/or workers
- Fires or explosions on drilling rigs
- Claims for wrongful death
- Commercial fishing accidents
- Products liability cases
- Accidents on U.S. military bases overseas
Employers are obligated under general maritime law to provide a seaworthy vessel, maintain and outfit it properly, and staff it with a properly trained crew. An employer who fails to do so may be held liable for seaman’s damages and loss. We can investigate any claim against an employer to prove that they did not manage or maintain these vessels properly. We may find that a seaworthy crew was not assigned to the ship and that the ship was not outfitted with the proper accessories. For example, several lawsuits were filed after the Titanic sank, and most of them involved the seaworthiness of the vessel, lack of lifeboats, and outfitting of the ship.
While compensation for work injuries is similar to that of workers on land, maritime workers are not covered by state Workers’ Compensation laws. Instead, general maritime law, together with federal acts such as the LHWCA, the Defense Base Act, and the Jones Act, are available to help injured offshore workers.
In addition to federal protections under maritime law, individuals injured as a result of negligence may also have a valid third-party liability claim against a negligent entity or individual. For example, if the injuries were caused by defective or poorly maintained equipment, the equipment’s manufacturer or individual responsible for maintenance may be held liable. Please bring any information you have about an accident or death that affected your family to your consultation so that we may determine who is responsible.
Lawsuits concerning maritime accidents and injuries may be filed in federal or state court. A qualified maritime lawyer can explain the different maritime regulations, how they apply to your case, and where your claim should be filed. Every case is different, and we will walk you through the legal process, so you understand why we are choosing to file in state or federal court. We also know many professionals working within the legal system, and we will use our knowledge to make the best choice for your case.
Maintenance and Cure Benefits
Maintenance and cure benefits are specific to maritime law and guarantee injured maritime workers paid room and board ashore, within reason, as well as medical treatment until he or she is fit for duty or reaches maximum recovery. These benefits should be offered to anyone who has been injured as a part of their duties on any vessel. This specific protection is designed to allow injured seamen to recover safely before going back to work in a dangerous environment, but companies that want to make money and remain productive may not provide the appropriate benefits to injured workers.
The Supreme Court has defined maintenance and cure very broadly. Aside from food and rent, maintenance includes electricity, phone, and transportation. Cure benefits include everything from diagnostic tests to hospital treatment, prescription medication, and physical therapy or in-home care. If you believe that you were not offered the appropriate maintenance and cure benefits, were not offered benefits at all, or believe that your loved one was not given the appropriate benefits, we will help determine the level of negligence of the employer. You also have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit if an employer disobeyed the law and caused your loved one’s death.
Additional Maritime Worker Benefits
Other benefits available to maritime workers who are injured in an accident on the job include:
- Wage loss benefits
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of limb or disfigurement
- Damages for physical pain and suffering
- Death benefits
When you have been injured in a maritime accident or near the water as a longshoreman, you have a right to benefits that include lost wages, lost future income, and pain and suffering. We will use our industry experience to carefully calculate all the benefits that you deserve. Dependents of workers who suffer a fatality are eligible for death benefits, such as burial costs and loss of companionship. We ensure that any other claims that must be brought are filed immediately. We will hold the employer, responsible manufacturers, and possibly other maritime workers accountable for your loss.
Cape May Maritime Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Represent Injured Maritime Workers
The experienced Cape May maritime lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. are dedicated to recovering compensation for injured maritime workers. We have a proven track record of success in maritime accident cases, and we can help you, regardless of the complexity of your case. Call us at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we service clients throughout South Jersey, including Cape May and Wildwood.