There are various ways an injured claimant could recover compensation following an injury that occurred on open water. The two primary sources of compensation for maritime injury claims is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Jones Act. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is different from the Jones Act in that the Jones Act operates on the open water. The Longshore Act involves instances where injuries occur near the water but still on land and uses a worker’s compensation structure for compensation. The purpose of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is to expedite claims and make them as economical and efficient as possible.
A skilled maritime injury attorney could help you understand the sources of compensation for maritime injury claims in Pascagoula.
The Jones Act is a lawsuit filed in federal court, and aLongshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act claim is filed with the Department of Labor and then only goes to court after several appeals. The Act is governed by the Department of Labor by a claims examiner and an administrative law judge.
The difference in how the claims are adjudicated depends on if there are conflicts between the injured claimant and their employer. If there is a dispute between the injured worker, the employer, and the insurance carrier, a claims examiner with the Department of Labor would have a telephonic hearing to try to work through those conflicts and issue an opinion. The opinion is not binding on the employer and insurance company or the injured worker. Usually, it is appealed to an administrative law judge. There is no right to a jury. The administrative law judge would try to mediate the case and work through some of the issues to try to get them resolved.
If it could not be resolved, the administrative law judge would have a hearing. Usually, those hearings are straightforward in that medical records would go in without testimony and the only people who testify are the injured worker and maybe a witness or two. The judge would make the final determination and issue a written opinion.
If there is an appeal, it goes to a benefits review board. The benefits review board could either affirm the administrative law judge’s opinion or deny it. If there is an appeal again, it goes to the next court of appeals. It is best to seek help from a diligent attorney who has experience with maritime laws and understands the sources of compensation for maritime injury claims in Pascagoula.
The calculations for the Longshore Act are straightforward. The damages are two-thirds of an individual’s average weekly wage, and attorneys look at actuarial tables to determine the working life of someone and what their medical damages would be. Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the only recoverable damages for an injured worker are for lost wages and medical damages.
Under the Jones Act, the maintenance and cure does not always allow for finite, precise calculations. Those calculations could vary between what the claimant feels necessary and what the employer or ship owner claims is necessary. Past and present medical bills are easily calculated. However, it is difficult to determine future medical expenses or medical needs in both Longshore and Jones Act cases.
A knowledgeable attorney could help injured claimants learn about the differences between the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Jones Act as well as evaluate what makes these types of cases unique.
Those who have been injured while working on the open water are eligible to recover compensation under the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Jones Act. Injured claimants should not try to handle their case alone. A skilled maritime injury attorney could help claimants learn about the various sources of compensation for maritime injury claims in Pascagoula.
Schedule a consultation to discuss your case.