New Jersey Maritime Lawyer
Working on or near the water can be physically demanding and dangerous because there is always a risk of suffering a severe injury.
When a maritime worker suffers an injury, he or she may be able to pursue fair compensation under maritime laws. However, these laws are complex and difficult to navigate on your own.
That is why you should strongly consider hiring an experienced New Jersey maritime lawyer. The attorneys at Lynch Law Firm have in-depth knowledge of your rights under maritime law and how to pursue the compensation you deserve. We take cases on contingency, which means your initial consultation is free of charge and we do not recover legal fees unless you obtain compensation.
Schedule your free consultation today to discover your legal options. Call (800) 518-0508 .
Why Do I Need a New Jersey Maritime Lawyer?
You are free to pursue compensation for a maritime injury on your own. However, navigating the legal process alone can be stressful and confusing, particularly when you are dealing with a New Jersey personal injury.
This is one of the many reasons why it may be to your benefit to work with a reputable New Jersey maritime attorney. Here are some of the other reasons you should think about contacting an attorney after a maritime injury:
You Need a Strong Advocate During the Legal Process
You will need to work with various parties as you pursue compensation for the injuries you suffered on the water, some of which may include your employer and its attorneys and insurance company if you are filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Unfortunately, the only party that is focused on your best interests is you. While your employer and others will likely go through the process in good faith, they are not focused on ensuring you receive all of the compensation you deserve.
However, the New Jersey maritime lawyers at our firm will be singularly focused on your best interests and obtaining maximum compensation for your claim.
An Attorney Can Help Accurately Value Your Claim
Workplace injuries can have devastating effects on your life, creating long-term medical expenses, lost wages and emotional anguish.
If your injury was caused by another party's negligence, you deserve compensation for all of the physical, financial and emotional damages you are dealing with.
Our experienced New Jersey maritime lawyers will know how to carefully review your claim to determine an accurate valuation based on all of the evidence. An attorney will also know how to document physical and emotional damages that do not have a specific monetary value attached to them.
This is the kind of expertise you need to have a chance of recovering maximum compensation.
An Attorney Has Detailed Knowledge of Relevant Laws
Making sense of the laws that apply to maritime injuries is very difficult when dealing with an injury. That is why having an attorney at your side with knowledge of these laws gives you a tremendous advantage.
The New Jersey maritime lawyers at our firm are well-versed in the laws that apply to these claims, including:
- Jones Act
- Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
- Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
A Lawyer Can Help Guide You Through the Entire Legal Process
When you contact our firm, we will review your claim in a free legal consultation. If you have a claim and decide to proceed, we will explain the next steps you need to take to pursue compensation.
A New Jersey maritime attorney will be prepared to manage your claim from start to finish, including completing all required forms and ensuring they are submitted on time. If your claim is denied, your lawyer will be prepared to go through the appeal process to fight for your rights so you can focus on recovering from your injury.
Contact Lynch Law Firm today for a free legal consultation.
Types of Maritime Injury Cases
The New Jersey maritime lawyers at our firm are prepared to pursue claims for maritime workers covered by the Jones Act, DOHSA and the LWHCA. This includes claims that occur on:
- Cargo/supply ships
- Offshore rigs, such as oil rigs
- Docks and ports
- Commercial fishing vessels
- Floating cranes
- Cruise ships
- Drill ships
Injuries that occur on these vessels or locations are covered by maritime laws, provided these vessels were on navigable waters when the injuries occurred. Navigable waters include:
- Harbors adjacent to these bodies of water
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Your maritime injury claim will be governed by one of three maritime laws, depending on the circumstances of your injury.
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, applies to workers who perform at least 30 percent of their jobs on seafaring vessels, including:
- Fishing ships
- Oil rigs
- Cruise ships
- Floating cranes
This law allows eligible employees to obtain compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of a coworker or their employer.
Examples of negligent acts that could make you eligible for compensation include:
- Failing to maintain safe equipment
- Lack of care when selecting competent crewmembers
- Failing to avoid dangerous weather
- Failing to provide proper supervision
- Failing to require crewmembers to follow safe work methods
- Allowing unsafe conditions, such as grease or oil on the deck of a vessel
- Failing to properly train crewmembers
- Using a vessel that was unseaworthy
Workers who file Jones Act claims have a much lower burden of proof than people who file personal injury claims. In a personal injury claim, you must prove the other party's negligence was the main cause of your injury. However, the Jones Act simply requires you to show that the other party's negligence played some role in your injury, no matter how small.
Types of Benefits
The following types of benefits are available in a Jones Act claim:
- Medical expenses - This includes all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, both now and in the future. Examples could include physical therapy, nursing care and travel to out-of-town medical facilities.
- Lost wages – This provides compensation for wages lost after an injury and while you are receiving treatment.
- Lost earning capacity – This is compensation for future wages, health and insurance benefits, vacation time, retirement plans, and other benefits you are unable to earn because your injury caused a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work. Many factors will be taken into account to determine how much compensation you receive, including age, gender and the number of years you likely would have worked if the injury had not occurred.
- Pain and suffering – You may be entitled to compensation for physical pain from your injury along with disfigurement and inability to perform physical activity. You may also be able to recover compensation for depression and other psychological problems that resulted from your injury.
- Funeral expenses – This applies to situations where the injury contributes to the worker’s death.
- Lost enjoyment of life – This is compensation for lost mobility, pain, lack of physical stamina, and other ailments that prevent the worker from enjoying leisure activities or spending time with friends, family or loved ones.
Statute of Limitations for Jones Act Claims
You have three years from the date of the accident or injury to file a Jones Act claim. This is because of the three-year statute of limitations. If you fail to file within three years, you will lose the right to do so.
However, there are some situations where you might have more than three years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you did not immediately discover the injury when the accident occurred, you have three years from the date you discovered it to file a claim.
Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
This law applies to anyone engaged in a maritime occupation, if their job meets two criteria:
- A substantial amount of your work involves marine transport or the water. A truck driver who transports shipping containers from ships would qualify because his or her work involves marine transport, even though he or she does not work on the water.
- You work on, near or adjacent to navigable water. This includes those who work on piers, dry docks, terminals and places used for the loading, unloading or repair of a vessel.
This act excludes all workers who are covered by the Jones Act, along with:
- Individuals employed by a foreign government or the state or federal government
- Workers who were injured primarily due to intoxication
- Employees who were injured due to their own willful or intentional actions that were designed to harm themselves
The LHWCA is similar to workers' compensation in that it provides compensation for injuries and diseases that arise in the course of employment. Negligence is not a factor in determining eligibility for compensation.
Types of Compensation
You may be eligible for various types of compensation from an LHWCA claim, including:
- Medical expenses – If your claim is approved, you are entitled to compensation for all medical expenses, including surgeries, hospital bills, assistive devices, testing, prescriptions and other medical costs.
- Temporary total disability – This is for employees who suffer an injury that temporarily prevents them from working. These employees receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage for as long as their injury keeps them from working.
- Temporary partial disability – This provides compensation for employees who must temporarily do a different job with the same company or a new company. This benefit is worth two-thirds of your lost earning capacity.
- Permanent total disability – This benefit is for employees who have a condition that is not expected to improve and prevents them from doing any type of job. If you are awarded this benefit, you will receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for as long as you are disabled.
- Permanent partial disability – This is for workers with a permanent impairment that still allows them to perform some type of job, even if they have different responsibilities and fewer hours. Scheduled permanent partial disability (PPD) is for impairments in Section 8(c) of the LHWCA. Scheduled PPD provides employees with 66 and two-thirds percent of their average weekly wage for a certain number of weeks, depending on the disability. Unscheduled PPD is for injuries not listed in Section 8(c). Employees receive two-thirds of their lost earning capacity.
- Vocational rehabilitation – If you receive compensation for a permanent disability but you are able to work and there are employment opportunities within driving distance of your home, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation. This could include job placement assistance, skills testing, counseling and accommodations that help you do the job you did before your injury.
Statute of Limitations
According to Section 913 of the LHWCA, there is a one-year statute of limitations on filing claims. This means you must file within one year of your injury. Family members have one year to file a claim over the death of a loved one.
The statute of limitations does not begin to run until the employee or beneficiary is aware, or should be aware by exercising reasonable diligence, that the injury or death is related to the individual's job.
Death on the High Seas Act
If an individual was killed because of a wrongful act, neglect or default that occurred on the high seas more than three miles from the shore of the U.S., his or her spouse, parent, child or dependent relative may file a claim under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).
Some of the most common examples of negligence that give relatives grounds for a DOHSA claim include:
- Sunken vessels
- Fires or explosions onboard the vessel
- Defective equipment
- Failing to follow safety protocols
- Failing to provide necessary medical care
- Improper training of personnel
Types of Compensation
There are many types of compensation you may be able to recover in a DOHSA claim, including:
- Funeral costs
- Loss of financial support, both existing support and future support
- Other financial expenses created by the wrongful death
- Expenses for counseling
There are some situations where the deceased individual's own negligence contributed to his or her death. The DOHSA does not bar recovery for the contributory negligence of the decedent.
However, if you are awarded compensation, the amount will be reduced by the decedent's percentage of fault for his or her death.
Statute of Limitations
All DOHSA claims are governed by a three-year statute of limitations. This means a claim must be filed within three years of the decedent's death.
Contact a New Jersey Maritime Lawyer Today
Have you been injured or lost a loved one on a seafaring vessel or in an on-the-job accident that occurred near the water?
You may be able to file a claim under the Jones Act, the Longshore Harbor Workers' Compensation Act or the Death on the High Seas Act.
Contact a seasoned New Jersey maritime attorney from our firm today for a free legal consultation. We can review your situation to determine all of your legal options. If you have a viable claim, our goal is to obtain all of the compensation you deserve so you can return to work or support yourself if you have lost the ability to work.
If you lost a loved one on in the high seas, we want you to have the compensation you need to support yourself and your family now that your loved is gone.
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Lynch Law Firm
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604