Maritime Claims For Lost Wages - Claims Under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law
Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP is one of the most experienced maritime injury law firms in the Nation. When a crewman is injured working aboard his vessel, one of his first questions will be, “What wages will I be entitled while I am recovering from my injuries?”
In most cases an injured crewman is entitled to the wages he would have earned during the term of his contractual employment. These wages are called “unearned wages” until the end of the voyage. The length of time left on your contract at the time of your injury will determine how long you are entitled to these wages. If you do not have a written contract the term of employment will will be seasonal for injured fisherman. This is a no-fault remedy. You do not have to prove negligence or unseaworthiness to recover these wages — these are a basic entitlement that all crewmen who are injured or become ill during the course of the voyage are entitled to. There are few exceptions to the right to unearned wages.
In addition to unearned wages, a crewman is entitled to maintenance benefits. Maintenance is a daily living allowance paid to crewmen while they are recovering from their injury or illness. This is a also a no-fault remedy, and a basic benefit to which seamen are entitled. The rate of maintenance varies from case to case, and unless you are a member of a collective bargaining unit the contractual rate of maintenance stated in a contract is non-binding. Typical maintenance in the Northwest is paid at $25-$35 per day.
Crewmen who are injured through negligence or unseaworthiness are entitled to past and future lost wages, and compensation for lost earning capacity. To get compensation under the Jones Act you must prove that the vessel was negligent in causing your injury. In cases involving serious injuries with long periods of disability, you will need to prove negligence or unseaworthiness to recover the wages you will lose in the future.
The lawyers at Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP are highly experienced in making claims for lost wages for injured seamen. They understand your injuries, and know how those injuries will impact your ability to make a living in the future. The fact is that most accidents aboard vessels are preventable if proper safety precautions are followed. In cases involving serious personal injuries it is usually advisable to start litigation as soon as possible. The employer is not obligated to pay you lost wages during the time that you are recovering from your injuries — they only have to pay maintenance and unearned wages until the end of the voyage. In serious and disabling injury cases, you will have to make claims for negligence and unseaworthiness to recover your full lost wages.
If you have questions about your rights to benefits after you have been injured working as a seaman, contact the lawyers at Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP for a free initial consultation. The Jones Act - It’s the law, It’s your right.