Who We Represent
Recovering Compensation After an Injury at Sea
Maritime accidents can occur on professional and recreational vessels, and they may cause serious and even fatal injuries. There are many jobs and activities that take place on or around the water, each of which carries its own set of risks. Maritime laws protect the rights of many employees that work both on vessels and in ports and harbors. The South Jersey maritime lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. represent individuals injured in offshore accidents as well as families who have suffered the loss of a loved one at sea.
Workers on commercial vessels that transport goods or passengers have intensely physical and dangerous jobs. Merchant seamen fill a variety of roles on a ship, including:
- First, second, and third mates
- Chiefs and engineers
- Deckhands and Deck Engine Utility (DEU) workers
- Radio electronics officers
- Cooks and stewards
Merchant seamen are often out at sea for days or months at a time working long hours. They may have to deal with unsafe or broken equipment, and without adequate safety procedures in place, they are extremely vulnerable to injury. If the vessel itself is unfit for sea travel, it can also put workers at risk of serious injury.
Commercial fishing is a very dangerous profession; the industry has a fatality rate 29 times higher than the national average. Workers have to deal with heavy machinery, inclement weather, dangerous vessels, and falls overboard. Without extensive safety training and proper equipment, fishermen face a high risk of fatal injuries. Commercial fishing vessels include:
- Lobster and crab boats
- Clamming vessels
- Long liners
- Processing vessels
It is not just workers at sea who are protected by maritime laws. Workers involved in the building, maintenance, and repair of ships face unique workplace hazards, such as:
- Hazardous materials, such as asbestos
- Fumes from solvents, paints, and fuels
- Heavy machinery
- Noise and heat stress
- Confined spaces
Employers must provide a safe work environment that minimizes these risks and ensure that shipbuilders and repairmen have the necessary safety equipment to prevent injury.
Longshoremen and Dock Workers
Workers in the harbors who operate the docks and load and unload cargo vessels also face different hazards than their counterparts at sea. They spend their days handling heavy cargo and using heavy equipment; these responsibilities can not only cause repetitive motion injuries, but accidents involving heavy loads can result in permanent disability or death.
Laws Protecting Maritime Workers
Workers’ Compensation laws do not apply to workers at sea; fortunately, maritime workers are protected by their own set of laws. The Jones Act protects seamen in the case of accidents caused by employer negligence. Employers must provide proper safety equipment and comprehensive safety training to employees, and they must ensure that equipment is working properly and safety hazards on board vessels are addressed quickly. Failure to do so exposes workers to risk of injuries that could be prevented.
The Longshore Harbor and Workers’ Compensation Act extends similar protections to employees who work on land but are still considered offshore workers. This includes longshoremen, dock workers, and ship workers.
Recreational Boating Operators
While not covered by the same statutes as maritime workers, there are legal protections in place for people injured on recreational vessels, including:
- Jet skis
- Water skis or tubes
Operators and passengers on these vessels encounter many of the same risks as professional seamen, including inclement weather, rough sea conditions, and compromised vessels. In addition, the drivers of these vessels may be less experienced than professional boat operators and can cause injury to their passengers or passengers in other boats.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a maritime accident, either while at sea or while working on land, it is important to understand your rights. Maritime laws are complex and differ in a number of ways from other types of personal injury cases. Having an experienced maritime accident lawyer by your side can help you obtain the maximum compensation allowed under the law.
South Jersey Maritime Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Accident Victims Navigate Maritime Law
The South Jersey maritime accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. have the knowledge and experience to handle all types of maritime injury cases, whether they involve employees or recreational boaters. We will be by your side every step of the way to protect your rights and recover the compensation you deserve. With offices conveniently located in Cherry Hill and Philadelphia, we help injury victims and their families throughout South Jersey, including those in Cape May, Gloucester, and Wildwood, New Jersey. We also represent clients in North Carolina from our office in Pinehurst. Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation with a South Jersey maritime accident lawyer.