Seaman Injury Attorneys
The Nation’s Leading Trial Lawyers for Seamen’s Rights
You were trying to do your job on a commercial fishing vessel, cargo ship, or offshore platform. An accident happened, and now you are seriously injured and unable to work. You wonder what your rights are and whether your employer is being straight with you about their obligations to you as an injured and out-of-work seaman.
If you experienced any type of maritime or offshore injury, you have come to the right place. Arnold & Itkin can provide you with helpful, straightforward information and guidance related to your rights as an injured seaman. Since 2004, we have fought for the rights of maritime workers nationwide, helping them get the treatment and support they need under the Jones Act and other applicable maritime laws. We have taken on some of the biggest maritime cases—and won record-setting verdicts and settlements that have helped our clients put their lives back together.
To find out how we can help you, call (888) 346-5024. Your consultation is free!
Common Seaman Injuries & Their Causes
Seamen, regardless of the type of vessel they work on, face unique challenges and risks. The physically demanding nature of their job duties, the presence of heavy machinery and equipment, harsh weather conditions, and the sea itself all present hazards. Maritime employers must address these through proper training, equipment, and safety procedures to minimize their risk and protect their crews. When they don’t, seamen may be seriously injured or killed.
Some of the most common seaman injuries include:
- Slip and Fall Injuries: The maritime environment often involves wet and slippery decks, which can result in slips, trips, and falls. These accidents can lead to fractures, contusions, head injuries, and more.
- Crush Injuries: These can occur when heavy equipment, cargo, or machinery moves unexpectedly or if something falls. Such incidents can result in broken bones, internal injuries, and in severe cases, amputations.
- Burn Injuries: Seamen may suffer burns due to fires, explosions, or contact with chemicals, hot surfaces, or steam. Such incidents can be caused by malfunctioning equipment, electrical issues, or fuel leaks.
- Toxic Exposure: Seamen can be exposed to hazardous materials, leading to respiratory issues, skin conditions, or other health complications. Exposure can occur due to leaks, spills, or improper handling and storage of substances.
- Repetitive Strain Injuries: Continuous strain on certain body parts, due to tasks like lifting heavy objects, can lead to conditions like tendonitis or hernias. Back and neck injuries can also be linked to repetitive strain.
- Drowning or Near-Drowning: On a maritime vessel, there is always an inherent risk of falling overboard or being trapped in flooding compartments. Proper railings, safety equipment, and training can mitigate these risks.
- Hearing Loss: Exposure to loud machinery and equipment over prolonged periods can lead to hearing issues. Proper ear protection can help, but in the noisy environment of a ship, it's an ongoing concern.
What Are My Rights as a Seaman?
When injuries occur offshore, seamen have certain, unconditional rights. Injured seamen have a right to paid medical care, including medicine and physical therapy, as well as their wages for the duration of the voyage and payments for room and board while recovering. Injured seamen are entitled to these benefits regardless of who or what caused the accident. These seaman's rights are the legal obligation of the maritime employer and are in addition to any rights the injured or ill crew may have under the Jones Act or general maritime law.
If a seaman is injured because of the unseaworthiness of a vessel or the negligence of their employer, they may be entitled to additional compensation. This may include:
- Rehabilitation, counseling, and ongoing medical treatment
- Future loss of earnings and loss of earning potential
- Emotional trauma, such as pain and suffering
Seaman Maintenance & Cure Rights
If a seaman becomes injured or ill while at sea, they are entitled to living expenses, lost wages, and medical care—known as maintenance and cure. An injured seaman has a right to maintenance and cure until they reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). These benefits are available regardless of who was at fault.
“Cure” indicates that the shipowner is obligated to cure a crew member injured in the service of the ship by providing medical care until the seaman has reached maximum medical improvement. This could include supplying wheelchairs, prosthetics, or pain medications if further improvement is not possible. These maritime rights allow the seaman to choose their own doctor or medical provider and also give the seaman the option to obtain a second opinion beyond the diagnosis or prognosis of the company doctor.
Cure benefits include the following:
- Reasonable and necessary medical treatment
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Medications related to the treatment of their illness/injury
“Maintenance” benefits are historically based on a minimal daily subsistence rate. In recent years, the courts have interpreted the right to receive maintenance benefits and the employer's duty to provide these benefits as a requirement that the employer provide adequate benefits to cover the seaman's basic living expenses. Those expenses may include rent or mortgage payments, utility expenses, and food costs.
Talk to a Seaman Injury Lawyer Today
If you have been injured or became ill while working offshore, you should speak to an experienced seaman injury lawyer as soon as possible. By meeting the requirements of the seaman status test, you will be given access to benefits and legal remedies following an offshore accident.
At Arnold & Itkin, we can help determine whether or not you qualify as a Jones Act seaman and help you fight for maximum recovery. The maritime lawyers at our firm do more than just help clients secure money. We help injured seamen recover physically, financially, and emotionally, obtaining justice on their behalf. When you call on us, we provide helpful guidance and assistance with your claim every step of the way.
The immediate impact of an injury is obvious: lost wages, medical bills, pain, and suffering. Even rehabilitation costs may continue for years, adding up. Many people don’t realize how serious the long-term costs of an injury or fatal accident can be. That is why having a seasoned attorney is important. Our team understands seamen’s rights as defined by the Jones Act. With this understanding of seamen's rights and the immediate and long-term costs of injuries, Arnold & Itkin works tirelessly to help our clients get the compensation they need.
Contact us today to find out how we can help.