Maritime workers, whether they work on fishing vessels or offshore oil rigs, engage in some of the most dangerous jobs there are. Thankfully, laws are in place to protect worker safety and minimize the risks that come with these occupations. When an accident happens and serious personal injury or wrongful death occurs, it is important to determine if any laws were violated that could have prevented a needless tragedy. These laws will govern who is liable for the accident and any costs associated with it.
If you’ve been in a water-related work accident that occurred along the shores of Gulfport and Biloxi or in the waters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Biloxi, MS maritime injury lawyer Corban Gunn is on your side. He understands how to navigate the complex maritime laws that govern these types of injuries and can hold the proper parties responsible to ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you need to recover.
More than One Law Applies to Mississippi Maritime Accidents
The most complex part about maritime accidents that occur in Mississippi waters is the fact that multiple maritime-specific laws often apply to these injuries. When a maritime worker is injured on the job, it is important initially to determine which law or laws apply that can help the worker receive compensation. It’s not always possible or proper to simply file a Mississippi workers’ compensation claim or initiate a civil lawsuit like you might in a car accident or other personal injury.
For workers on offshore oil rigs, tankers, cargo ships, tugboats, barges, and even inland marine vessels, knowing which laws apply and how to pursue the proper claim is essential to obtaining a recovery. Any one or more of the following laws may apply in the case of a maritime accident injury:
Merchant Seaman Protection and Relief Act (Jones Act) – This law provides healthcare costs and lost wages to longshoremen and seamen injured while working on a maritime vessel. The term “seamen” includes fishermen, deckhands, crew members, and engineers who work on vessels which spend most of their time in the open waters. When an employer’s negligence causes an injury, this act makes it possible to obtain compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, future earning capacity, physical therapy, retraining, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) – This law can be used to obtain compensation for maritime workers who are not considered seamen under the Jones Act such as loaders and dockworkers at terminals, piers, dry dock facilities, and other areas on U.S. navigable waters.
Doctrine of Unseaworthiness – Under federal law, all ships in operation must be seaworthy and safe for their intended purpose. The doctrine of unseaworthiness is one of strict liability, meaning it is not necessary to prove negligence or fault, but only that the ship was unsafe and the worker was injured. Examples of what can make a vessel unseaworthy include missing safety equipment, an undermanned vessel, lack of supervision, defective design, missing or defective tools or equipment, untrained crewmembers, or decks that are obstructed or unreasonably slippery.
Death on the High Seas Act – This is a federal admiralty law for the family of a maritime worker killed in international waters. A spouse, child, or other family member who was dependent on the deceased can receive compensation for a wrongful death caused by negligence or unseaworthiness.
Contact an Experienced Biloxi Maritime Injury Attorney
Maritime accident injury claims can be exceptionally complicated. Cases involving working on an offshore oil rig can involve a wide body of complex federal laws which can come into play in the event of an accident caused by rig defects, explosions, toxic exposure, or transport accidents. Accidents on a cargo ship, fishing boat, or other type of vessel may involve similar complications and will additionally involve the corporation that owns the ship.
While in the process of filing a claim, you will have to go up against your employer as well as their insurance agency, both of which will be doing everything they can to deny you the compensation you are entitled to. Facing teams of lawyers hired by billion-dollar companies and their insurers may seem daunting to some, but Mississippi maritime injury lawyer Corban Gunn has the skill and dedication required to hold oil and gas companies as well as maritime corporations liable for worker injuries.
If you have been injured on an offshore oil rig or ocean/river vessel in the state of Mississippi or lost a loved one to a maritime accident occurring along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, contact Corban Gunn, Attorney in Law to get the financial compensation you need and deserve to move forward with your life.