Am I entitled to workers’ compensation?

If you are a member of a crew of a vessel, you are considered a Jones Act seaman. If you are a Jones Act seaman, you do not receive workers’ compensation, but rather receive a daily payment known as maintenance. Maintenance is designed reproduce your food and lodging while onboard a vessel or a rig. It is not designed to pay all of your living expenses. Many companies have a fixed rate of maintenance that can vary from $15 a day to up to approximately $50 a day. An experienced maritime lawyer can assist a seaman in getting the correct amount of maintenance which should include payment for your rent and/or mortgage, utilities, food, and travel back and forth to the physician. Maintenance should be paid to an injured seaman regardless of fault on your employer or other company. The employer is also responsible for paying cure which is medical treatment provided by a physician of your choice until you reach maximum medical improvement. There is often a battle to get maintenance and cure started and that is why it is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible after an injury. Once again, maintenance and cure is payable whether or not the injured employee can establish liability or fault on the employer, other company, or person.
If liability or fault can be established against the employer or other party, then other damages can be awarded. This fault is known as liability and can be established by proving negligence on the part of your employer or other person for directing or requiring an employee to do an unsafe act that causes an injury or if the employee can establish unseaworthiness, which means a part of the vessel is not fit for its intended purpose and that the unseaworthy condition caused the injury. On many occasions, the injured party can proved both negligence and unseaworthiness. For example, if an employee is ordered to lift an item that is too heavy for one person to lift by himself by his superior, that can be considered negligence. An example of unseaworthiness would be oil or grease on the deck of a vessel or a wire or cable that breaks and causes injury. An experienced maritime lawyer can explain in detail the requirements to prove liability and establish the Jones Act or other maritime case. On some worksites, a maritime employee is working on a platform or does not have the requisite time on a vessel to be considered a seaman and may have what is considered a third-party case.