The maritime industry is essential to the strength and growth of this country and is the lifeblood of our economy here in the Gulf Coast. While the recent downturn in the Oil & Gas Industry has jeopardized many of our jobs, for those who have kept their jobs, it has become even more difficult to perform them safely with companies sacrificing safety by cutting corners to save money.
During times like these, it is of the utmost importance to know your rights as a maritime worker. In our country, seamen are wards of the court, which means they enjoy special protections because of their exposure to the perils of the sea and dangers of performing their duties so far from their homes for extended periods of time and having to rely on their employers to provide a safe place to work.
“Do I need a maritime attorney?” It’s a question workers should ask when injured offshore. Unfortunately, many don’t. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, the Jones Act allows you to sue your employer for sustaining a work injury that is their fault. Determining whether a maritime worker is a Jones Act seaman is a case by case analysis that requires an experienced maritime lawyer. Click the link above to learn more.
First of all, you are not required to see a company doctor, but you should never refuse medical treatment as this can be used against you later in the case. However, you are entitled to see the doctor of your choosing regardless of whether you have already seen a doctor that your company sent you to. Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to ensure that your treating physician is a doctor not affiliated with your company. Click the link above to learn more.
While we can’t say for certain whether this is possible, we feel strongly that this should NOT be a deciding factor in pursuing your right to compensation after a maritime injury. There are laws that protect seamen and other maritime workers from being blacklisted, and the courts have ruled (in Pino v. Protection Maritime Insurance Company and other cases) that blacklisting or blackballing offshore workers is illegal. In addition, when asked for a reference, past employers are not legally permitted to discuss the fact that you filed a claim against the company. Click the link above to learn more.
If you are a maritime worker injured while on the job, there are many advantages to seeking legal representation from an experienced offshore injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident takes place. There are statutes of limitations for filing a maritime injury claim under the Jones Act and other maritime laws. If you wait too long to file a claim, you may find yourself unable to seek compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. The statutes of limitations vary, depending on which laws apply in your case. Click the link above to learn more.