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If you were injured in an offshore accident, then you might not know where to turn. When your life is falling apart right in front of your eyes, the last thing you need to worry about is struggling to make ends meet – whether that’s because you’re facing so many bills, or because you fear you may be blacklisted if you seek the compensation you’re owed.

Unfortunately, this is too often the case for injured maritime workers. They’re worried about filing a maritime injury claim because they fear it will put their entire future on the line.

Our Louisiana-based team of offshore injury attorneys at the Maritime Injury Law Firm is here to tell you that isn’t the case. As a seaman, you are entitled to a variety of rights and protections, and we will fight for your right to work after a maritime accident.

The Jones Act and LHWCA protect your rights after a maritime accident

The maritime industry is as diverse as they come, though there is one thing all maritime jobs have in common: they can be dangerous, even deadly.

That’s why seamen and maritime workers have more workers’ protections than any other laborers in the country.

The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) are two laws that protect maritime workers.

The Jones Act

One of the most well-known maritime protection laws is the Jones Act, which was passed in 1915 to protect the rights of crewmen injured or taken ill in the course of employment.

Under the Jones Act, workers are entitled to the maintenance and cure benefits, which are:

  • Maintenance: Compensation for the cost of living while a seaman is injured and unable to work. This includes mortgage or rent, utilities, food and more.
  • Cure: Compensation for medical needs, including medical bills and transportation to and from appointments.

In addition to maintenance and cure, seamen may be able to sue negligent employers for the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Loss of earning ability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish, embarrassment, and humiliation
  • The inability to engage in recreational activities you previously enjoyed

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Jones Act only covers seamen, who spend a significant amount of time working on a ship or boat in navigation. However, there are still protections under the LHWCA for workers whose jobs are “maritime in nature.”

This law outlines protections and compensation for injured longshore workers, ship repairers, shipbuilders, ship-breakers and harbor construction workers who are injured in one of the following areas:

  • Piers
  • Docks
  • Terminals
  • Wharves
  • Areas used in loading and unloading vessels

The LHWCA is slightly less comprehensive than the Jones Act, but it is still valuable for workers who are injured in dangerous maritime jobs that aren’t at sea.

Can a maritime injury claim affect my ability to find another maritime job?

While it is valuable to know that these protections exist in the event you are injured working a maritime job, it can still be intimidating to file a claim and collect the compensation you deserve.

After all, there may be fear that an employer may retaliate against you if you choose to stay at that workplace after your recovery. There may also be fear that they will spread word that you filed the claim to other potential employers, making it difficult for you to find a new position.

However, it’s important to know that blacklisting is illegal in Louisiana and the U.S.

According to U.S. law:

  • Any employer you list as a reference cannot discuss the fact that you filed a claim
  • Your employer cannot fire you for exercising your rights as a maritime worker

The law is on your side, and if you believe your employer violated any of these terms, then you may be able to take legal action.

What should I do if I believe my maritime injury claim is affecting my ability to find another maritime job?

You are entitled under U.S. law to file a maritime injury claim, in some cases whether your employer demonstrated negligence or not. It is important that you take advantage of your rights, to protect others, and to protect your own future.

If you exercise your American right and your employer retaliates against you, there are legal steps you can take in response. For example, if you are wrongfully terminated, you can file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

It should also empower you to know that many maritime workers have won their injury claims without retaliation and many have also won cases against their employers for blacklisting.

Contact a Gulf Coast Maritime attorney at Maritime Injury Law Firm today

When you’re faced with retaliation or other unfair treatment at the hands of a maritime employer, then you need a strong maritime injury attorney to level the playing field. George at the Maritime Injury Law Firm has two decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured seamen, and he’s prepared to put your needs over the tricks of an employer.

Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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