Serving as a member of a crew on a cargo ship is among the most dangerous jobs in America. Not only are these people subject to the hazards of working on the open water, but they may face exposure to heavy machinery and slick working surfaces. It is no wonder that many cargo ship workers suffer injuries every year.
Unfortunately, collecting compensation after enduring these injuries is surprisingly difficult. Unlike most workers who suffer an injury while on the job, cargo ship workers can only collect compensation by suing their bosses. This is because federal law does not require ship owners to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
An Ocean Springs cargo ship accident lawyer may be able to help injured crew members. They can work to explain the relevant laws and how they limit a person’s methods to recover compensation. A skilled maritime injury attorney could also work to take the lead in investigating the causes of injuries and demanding appropriate payments.
Working on a cargo ship presents people with a multitude of hazardous working conditions. Many of these apply across the board, no matter an individual’s role on the vessel. All workers are subject to hazards that are the product of the weather or nature. Stormy seas could throw a worker around the inside of a cabin, into cargo crates, or even overboard.
Of course, many of the other dangers are particular to a person’s role on the ship. Mechanics deal with heavy machinery that requires constant maintenance, and a malfunction could result in broken bones, severe cuts, or amputations. Even cooks and janitorial crews may face exposure to harsh chemicals or fires. As long as an injury occurs while on the clock and while on the vessel, it may qualify for compensation. These payments can provide money to cover the costs of medical treatment and lost earnings. A seasoned Ocean Springs cargo ship accident attorney could help to investigate the cause of an injury and to connect it to time spent on a vessel.
Even though injuries on cargo ships are common, the law makes it difficult for hurt employees to collect compensation. This is because the merchant marine industry is exempt from local and federal laws concerning workers’ compensation. No ship’s owner must ever provide this benefit to their employees. Instead, federal law states that injured workers have a cause of action against their employees for negligence that leads to harm.
Specifically, the Jones Act, cited at 46 United States Code §30104, says that “seamen” can hold their employers directly liable for negligence that led to an injury. A seaman is any worker who spends at least 30 percent of their working hours on a navigable vessel, and cargo ship crew members certainly fall under this definition.
As a result, an Ocean Springs cargo ship accident attorney could take the lead in pursuing these claims. They can work to show that a boat owner’s failure to provide a safe working environment led to a workplace injury. Ideally, these claims can collect appropriate compensation through settlement negotiations. However, an attorney is also prepared to file a lawsuit in a United Stated District Court to demand payments from at-fault employers.
If you have suffered an injury while working on a cargo ship, you may be entitled to significant compensation. These payments can cover the costs of medical care, as well as provide a safety net for time that you spend off the job. However, collecting this compensation can be difficult, as federal laws require you to sue your boss directly for their negligence that led to your injury.
An Ocean Springs cargo ship accident lawyer is prepared to fight for you. A lawyer can help to explain your rights and how they interact with federal shipping regulations. They can then gather evidence concerning the injury and why the boat’s owner is responsible for your losses. Finally, they can represent your interests in seeking fair compensation for your injuries. Call today to schedule a consultation.