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Maritime FAQ

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What legal rights do maritime employees have?

Working dockside or on the high seas is fraught with additional dangers not often faced by many laborers on land. For this reason employees in maritime related fields are entitled to many additional protections and benefits not afforded to their land-based counterparts. Maritime workers are provided protections under the Jones Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Land’s Act.

Those in charge of the vessel must ensure the vessel, which includes drilling vessels, jack-up rigs, semi-submersibles, derrick barges, and pipe-lay barges, are “seaworthy”. This means the vessel must be in proper order with considerations made for the voyage length, cargo, staff, and foreseeable conditions. The ship or vessel must also be adequately staffed and in good repair. Many of our cases arise out of issues with the seaworthiness of the vessel in question.

The vessel operators must also take into consideration the wellbeing of their staff during the course of the voyage. This means conditions must always be kept as safe as possible and any issues with safety are promptly dealt with in a timely manner.

In the United States, the Department of Labor also operates a special fund for workers’ compensation set aside for shore-based or platform employees under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). Employees of civilian contractors working on US military installations, including overseas in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kurdistan, or Africa, may also be entitled to LHWCA benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA).

What if my vessel or employing company has a different nationality from my own?

Part of the complexity of maritime or offshore law is the various nationalities involved among companies, vessels, crew, and locations of incidents. Making the right decisions from the beginning of the legal process can be a critical part of ensuring justice for injured workers. Likewise, legal counsel choosing to file in the closest or most familiar court or legal system may deprive the injured worker of the most advantageous choices for proceeding with a legal claim after an injury.

At Doyle LLP Trial Lawyers, we have years of experience and expertise in weaving through the various webs of international law to determine the best means of recovery for your potential case. Solving this problem is sometimes called “choice of law” or “choice of venue” .The choice of governing law, as well as where to file a claim, can often have a serious impact on the eventual outcome of your case.

If you were injured offshore or overseas, and you feel as if you are faced with immense difficulty in how to proceed with your case, contact us today to see how we can help. We are certainly up to the challenge in determining the best venue and governing laws for your claim.

What if I am a passenger injured on a cruise ship?

No one goes on a cruise holiday expecting to be injured, but unfortunately the high seas can be dangerous for those on holiday as well. As a customer on a cruise ship, you are still afforded legal protection for reasonable standards of safety and well-being. In the unfortunate event of an injury or death, you still may be able to claim compensation for any potential damages. The best way to know if you have a valid case is to contact a qualified attorney.

A good attorney is able to help guide you through the process of dealing with the cruise vessel operator and any other issues with location and international court jurisdictions. At Doyle LLP Trial lawyers we have experience in representing passengers hurt on voyages away from home. We are very confident in our ability to work with the vessel operators and the courts to best determine the correct venue for your claim.

What rights do offshore oil/gas rig workers have?

Working offshore can always be a difficult and potentially dangerous job. For this reason, offshore workers are afforded similar protections to other maritime employees. This means their employers are responsible for ensuring the conditions onboard the rig are safe and acceptable to work under at all times. Rig workers are also usually protected by the federal Jones Act and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). These protections mean that any injury in the course of duty while on a rig offshore should be compensable. Workers employed on fixed installations offshore are usually entitled to Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) payments, as well as other remedies, if injured working offshore.

Rig operators must also ensure that their employers are afforded prompt and quality medical care for any injuries that may occur. Delay in proper medical care, can result in more serious issues down the road, and employers can be held responsible for improper delay in care even if an injury or illness did not result initially from the employer’s misconduct or negligence.

If you were injured while working on a rig offshore, and are facing difficulty in receiving appropriate compensation, for your injury please contact Doyle LLP Trial Lawyers today. We have successfully represented numerous hard working rig employees in the past and would love to help you in your fight for justice.