Many people in New York may be aware that there are laws governing maritime passage and commerce in U.S. waterways. One of these is called the Jones Act or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. At nearly a century old, this law today has its share of both supporters and opponents. People in the former category herald the law as an important element in supporting American jobs and national security. People in the latter category suggest the law should be done away with.
An accident that resulted in the death of a 57-year-old Canadian man early Tuesday morning when he fell from a dock into the Saint Lawrence Seaway while trying to tie off the Canadian bulk carrier upon which he worked is currently under investigation by New York state authorities.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than 1,500 people died in a marine accident in 2017. Historically, this is a low number, and for maritime employees, deaths aboard freighters and other ships total less than 100. Instead, most deaths occurred on passenger ships.
Like any job in Manhattan, your work in the maritime industry requires you to do several repetitive tasks. The stress that such tasks place on your body can result in injuries over time. Such injuries may require treatment in order for you to perform daily tasks (much less perform the functions of your job). Even though the causes of such injuries are work-related, many still come to us here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP wondering whether the nature of such injuries disqualifies them from being covered by maintenance and cure benefits.
A typical recreational boating excursion is usually spent with family and friends. Those who choose to go out on an acquaintance's boat likely do so trusting that the boat owner has ensured that the craft is safe, and that said owner will also do everything necessary to ensure each passengers' safety while out on the water. It is for this reason why Manhattan residents may be reluctant to pursue action in the wake of a boating accident. No one wants to have to try and hold a friend legally accountable for an accident, yet oftentimes the expenses that can arise from it leave them with little choice.
New York is one of this country’s major ports and as such, numerous New Yorkers work in the shipping industry in some capacity. If they contract an illness or suffer an injury during their employment, the Jones Act provides the method for them to recover their medical costs, lost wages and daily living expenses from their employer, even if they were not on board their ship at the time of their accident or the onset of their illness.
Ships of all shapes and sizes have the potential to encounter marine life. Everything from small fish to whales collide with moving watercraft.