Pile Driver & Dredge
Workers injured while working on navigable waters aboard dredges, construction barges, and pile drivers may be entitled to compensation under Federal Maritime law. Working aboard barges and pile drivers places a worker at daily risk for serious personal injury or death. An improperly maintained piece of machinery, the negligence of a fellow worker, or an unsafe work practice can result in life changing injuries in the blink of an eye. All too frequently these injuries lead to long term disability and work restrictions rendering the worker not fit for duty.
Maritime workers in the "twilight zone" working on construction barges, pile drivers, dredges, and floating cranes may be categorized as Jones Act seamen or, alternatively, Longshore Harbor workers. In most cases, a worker may accept Longshore Harbor Worker benefits and simultaneously pursue a Jones Act claim. In the event the worker is deemed to be a Jones Act seaman, previously received benefits are set off against the Jones Act benefits.
If you have questions about your legal status and rights to benefits under the Jones Act verses the Longshore Harbor Workers Act, you should contact a qualified maritime lawyer to discuss your case. Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC is available to provide free initial consultations to injured maritime workers.
The Jones Act provides coverage to crewmen injured aboard vessels in navigable waters. Under the Jones Act and general maritime law a crewman injured through the negligence of his/her employer or the unseaworthiness of their vessel are entitled to damages for pain and suffering, disfigurement, lost past and future wages, retraining costs.Know Your Rights
Under the maritime doctrine of maintenance and cure, seamen are entitled to have all medical expenses related to their injury paid by their employer to the point where the crewman meets maximum medical cure. Crewmen have the right to choose their own doctors and may not be forced to seek treatment with a doctor chosen by the employer or its insurance company.
In most cases the rights and benefits available to injured crewmen under the Jones Act and the General Maritime law are far greater than the benefits available under the Longshore Harbor Worker Act or State Workers Compensation Systems. Employers and their insurance companies know this and often try to claim workers are not covered under the Jones Act and thereby avoid paying the injured worker the full compensation her/she deserves.
For all workers injured aboard dredges, pile drivers, construction barges, and construction boats, careful analysis must be performed to determine whether or not the worker qualifies for coverage under the Jones Act. Call 866-974-9633 and speak to an attorney about your case today.
Determining the legal status of injured workers aboard construction barges, pile drivers, marine cranes, and dredges involves complex legal analysis and is factually dependent on each worker's particular situation. As a general rule, to be a seaman a worker must have a more or less permanent connection to a vessel that is substantial in terms of both its duration and nature. A worker need not aid in the navigation of the vessel but must contribute to the vessel's function.Understanding The Law
A rough guideline set by the Supreme Court in Chandris Inc. v. Latis (1995), states that if a worker spends more than 30 percent of his time for his employer working aboard a vessel or fleet of vessels, the worker appropriately should be found to have a permanent connection to the vessel(s). Of particular importance is whether the duties of the worker involved doing ship work. Handling lines, participating in the anchorage of the vessel or moving of the vessel, doing engineering and deckhand type duties, and undertaking acts that contribute to the function of the vessel are important facts in establishing seaman status.
The Supreme Court further announced in Stewart v. Dutra Construction (2005) that for Jones Act purposes a vessel may include all types of special purpose vessels such as construction barges, pile drivers, marine cranes and jack up rigs. A vessel is defined for purposes of the Jones Act as a watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation. The vessel need not be self propelled. Barges and dredges temporarily anchored and moved from site to site are vessels for purposes of the Jones Act.Work With A Nationally Recognized Law Firm
Seattle-based law firm Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC is one of the nation's leading maritime personal injury firms. It has handled over a thousand Jones Act claims, and recovered millions of dollars in compensation for its clients across the nation. The firm has an extensive background in handling injury claims involving cranes, winches, and machine guarding aboard all manner of dredges and barges. If you have been injured aboard a pile driver, construction barge or construction boat, please contact Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC for a free initial consultation.