LEGAL RIGHTS OF A MARITIME WORKER
LEGAL RIGHTS OF MARITIME WORKERS
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Prepared by The Law Firm of Delise & Hall Attorneys at Law and Admiralty
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I - Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims
- Sources of Maritime Law
- The Jones Act
- Benefits under the Jones Act – Monetary damages
- Only Seamen are Covered Under the Jones Act
- Trades Recognized as Maritime under the Jones Act
- Work Platforms as Maritime Vessels under the Jones Act
- Attachment with a Vessel in Navigation
- Seaman Injured Onshore or in Transit to or from a Vessel
- Maritime Negligence Under the Jones Act
- Causation Under the Jones Act
- The Legal Defense of Comparative Negligence
- Jones Act – Statute of Limitations – When must a lawsuit be filed?
- Where should a maritime or Jones Act lawsuit be filed?
- Claims Against Vessel Owners under the General Maritime Law
- The Right to Maintenance and Cure
- Wrongful Death of a Maritime Worker
- Remedies for Maritime Workers who are not Seamen
CHAPTER II - Wrongful Termination Under Admiralty Law
CHAPTER III. - Special Legal Issues
- Doctors and proper medical care
- Physician office visits and testing
- Witnesses and statements
- Giving a statement
- The insurance company and insurance adjusters
- Frivolous claims or lawsuits
- Settling one’s own claim
- Breaking a Seaman’s Settlement or Release
- Hiring legal counsel
Why publish a book exploring the legal rights of a maritime or offshore worker? There are many reasons. First of all, much is at stake when tragedies occur offshore. The maritime industry is very big business. Not only is it “big business” for the maritime concerns who invest much in the way of capital, but it is also “big business” for the maritime worker who has invested much in the way of blood, sweat and tears in his or her pursuit of their chosen career offshore.
Thus, when one’s career is put in jeopardy as the result of a tragedy, much in time, personal fortunes and careers can be lost. Navigating the admiralty courts for the maritime worker can be as precarious as piloting a vessel through a fog shrouded channel at dawn. Ignorance of the law, in short, can be fatal to one’s future. This booklet attempts to provide the maritime worker with a general appreciation of one’s legal rights under maritime law.
Secondly, while maritime employers and their insurers are staffed with attorneys who are “on call” to provide advice and counsel at a moment’s notice, the maritime worker, roustabout or rigger cannot afford such a luxury. In dealing with their employer, a claims representative or insurance company the maritime worker is always at a distinct disadvantage. On the disadvantaged side in negotiations with such professionals the worker may relinquish important legal rights or forego significant compensation. This outline of the maritime law attempts to “level the playing field,” so to speak, in the blue collar worker’s day-to-day relationship with his employer and his employer’s insurance company.
Within the maritime industry, there are many myths concerning the legal rights of a worker. For example, many believe an injured mariner has only one year from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitation is three years. Some may believe, or are told, that a maritime worker must use the company’s doctor following an on-the-job injury. In truth, an injured mariner has significant control over the selection of his or her treating physician. The injured worker also has significant input over the location of treatment, hospitalization or rehabilitation.
Insurance adjusters or in house safety officers often tell an injured worker that there is a set amount of compensation benefits payable to an injured worker. Such is not the law! As will be discussed in this booklet, “maintenance” payments (maritime workers’ comp) are determined by the mariner’s monthly living expenses, not a “prevailing or customary” rate offered by the claims department or insurance company representative.
Finally, this publication is a primary tool to introduce the maritime community to the law Firm of Delise & Hall. Our firm has represented the interests of maritime workers throughout the world for over 25 years. We take a unique approach in our representation of maritime workers. We do not advocate litigation. Litigation should be the last resort in resolving a claim between a worker and his or her employer. We hope that the information found within this publication will aid the maritime worker in attempting to resolve their legal differences with their employer.
However, when lines in the sand are drawn and there is a need to hire legal counsel, we would like to be considered the maritime worker’s first choice in their selection of legal representation.
BOBBY J. DELISE
ABOUT DELISE & HALL
Delise & Hall is a New Orleans based admiralty law firm whose primary area of practice is the representation of maritime and oilfield workers in all aspects of maritime or admiralty law. Over the last 25 years the firm has represented blue water merchant seamen, commercial divers, oilfield craftsmen and inland mariners plying their trades in the maritime, from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, from the Pacific Rim to the inland waterways and lakes of the United States.
Delise & Hall handles claims for personal injury and death under the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the Death on the High Seas, state law and the traditional General Maritime Law.
The attorneys of Delise & Hall also represent the licensed maritime worker or applicant in licensing certification and administrative matters before the United States Coast Guard and other government administrative agencies. And finally, Delise & Hall represents the American mariner in personal legal matters such as estate planning, will drafting, criminal representation and domestic disputes.
The attorneys of Delise & Hall will travel anywhere worldwide to serve the interests of their clientele.
For more information, a free consultation or for additional copies of this publication contact:
Delise & Hall
Fax: (504) 836-8020