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New York Maritime Law Blog

What are your rights to 'maintenance and cure?'

The idea that injured seamen have a right to 'maintenance and cure' is considered an ancient doctrine. Many seafarers don't fully understand their rights under this provision.

Distinct from the benefits that can be claimed under the Jones Act, seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure any time they are injured "in the service of the vessel," even if they were on land at the time. It doesn't matter if the vessel's owner was negligent or not.

Understanding liability for injuries on fishing boats

If you are a worker on a commercial fishing boat, it is likely that you spend the majority of your time in your shift working on navigable waters. This means that if you become injured, you will not be covered by standard workers' compensation laws that are applicable to most workers in the United States.

As an injured worker on a fishing boat, you'll still need to gain medical attention, and you'll probably lose wages during the time you take off work to recover. Therefore, it's important that you still look into your options for claiming back these damages. To do this, you will need to understand the Jones Act.

Why is drunken boating so dangerous?

There's a certain sense of freedom when you're on the water that you don't have behind the wheel of a car. Maybe that's why so many boaters tend to indulge in a few drinks when they're operating their boats -- even through boating under the influence (BUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal.

Drink-for-drink, boaters become impaired more quickly than people on dry land due to a combination of the sun, the wind, the motion of the waves, the noise from the boat's engine and other factors. Plus, unlike someone who operates a car virtually every day, a lot of boaters only get out on the water every few weeks -- which means they're less experienced at it.

How to I make a claim under the Longshore Act?

Those who work in maritime employment are not covered by standard workers' compensation laws. This means that if they become injured on the job, they can not turn to standard workers' compensation laws to cover their financial damages, so they instead have to look for other options. Luckily, the Longshore And Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWC) can provide for the payment of compensation for these workers.

If you are an employee in a traditional maritime occupation, for example, if you are a longshore worker, shipbuilder or ship repairer, you are likely to be covered by the LHWC in the event that you become injured. The following is an overview of what you need to know about the LHWC and how you can go about making a claim.

Seafarer fatigue is leading to more maritime accidents

There's been a recent uptick in maritime disasters and accidents -- and industry experts are sounding the alarm. They say that the situation could actually get a lot worse.

Safety concerns that have led to worldwide travel restrictions have also kept roughly 300,000 seafarers trapped at work, stuck on expired contracts and essentially working until they drop over from exhaustion.

Dealing with illnesses and injuries as a seafaring worker

Working at sea comes with its own challenges. No matter whether you work on a cruise liner, oil tanker or fishing vessel, all seafaring workers are united in the challenges that they face.

Seafarers are often subject to high-pressure work with little room for error. The stress from their working environments takes a toll on their mental health. In addition to this, the lack of recreational activities available to those at sea can mean that workers can feel claustrophobic, homesick and sometimes depressed. There is also a significant risk of physical injury due to the demand for heavy labor.

Chemical dangers to fishing boat workers

If you work on a fishing boat, you have to worry about things like repetitive motion injuries, falling overboard, accidents with machinery and vessel disasters, among other things. It's no wonder that the fatality rate among commercial fishermen is 29 times greater than the national average.

There's one hazard of commercial fishing that may go overlooked, however: the potential for exposure to toxic chemicals.

How to file a claim under the Jones Act

Those who spend at least 30% of their work time on a vessel in navigation are covered by the Jones Act, but they are generally not covered by workers' compensation. This is because maritime laws apply to those at sea.

Normally, when a worker becomes injured in the workplace, they are able to file a workers' compensation claim. This enables them to gain back compensation for lost wages and medical expenses as a result of their injury. They will be able to recover this compensation in most situations, regardless of fault. However, those covered by the Jones Act will need to make an injury claim instead. If you are covered by the Jones Act and you were injured at work, the following are the steps that you should take.

Pending oyster season brings with it a focus on safety

The recent global health crisis poses numerous challenges to many business areas. The oyster industry is under threat because a majority of their customers are restaurants, which serve this tasty and desirable food. Many of these restaurants have either closed or experienced a lot less foot traffic due to social distancing and the health crisis.

Still, there is a market for oysters, and the oyster season is upon us. Typically, the best oyster harvests occur in the colder months from September through February when the shellfish is leaner, firmer and tastier. But the season does extend into spring. Regardless, there are many dangers associated with the commercial fishing for oysters along the East Coast.

Careless boaters in parade cause others to sink

A group of boaters in Austin, Texas, have made national news after getting much more than they bargained for when they decided to participate in a parade that was meant to show their support for the president's re-election campaign. Five of the boats sank and at least three others took on water. While nobody was injured, at least 15 rescue calls were sent out because of problems the boaters had staying afloat.

What caused all the issues? Initially, some reports indicated that the weather on Lake Travis was just too rough to handle -- but officials from the Travis County Sheriff's Office say that wasn't the case. Instead, the boats that took on water or went down were victims of other, bigger boats and their own proximity to each other.

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