Going to work every day in Manhattan (no matter the profession) can be difficult for anyone. Any number of challenges and risks could await you. Fortunately, you are typically able to draw some comfort from the knowledge that should something happen to you on the job, there are resources in place to help (such as workers' compensation benefits). You might face a heightened number of on-the-job risks when you work in the maritime industry. For injuries that happen while at sea, you can rely on protection through the Jones Act. Many in your profession may view workers' compensation benefits and those offered through the Jones Act as being the same thing. Yet are they?
The relative increase in space that boaters in Manhattan have on the water as opposed to what they find on the road when driving may contribute to a false sense of security. Not having to worry about avoiding other vehicles may prompt some to engage in reckless behavior that they otherwise would not. Excessive drinking or using controlled substances immediately before or while boating are two such examples. While many may not realize it, boating while impaired or under the influence can be just as dangerous as being in the same state while driving, and may easily produce devastating consequences.
While summer is still in full swing, autumn weather is right around the corner. Conditions above deck will soon be brisk, and the risks of hypothermia are not to be taken lightly.
Given the risks associated with employment in the maritime industry, it is easy to imagine one who is injured at sea requiring an extensive recovery period in Manhattan before he or she is fit to return to work (that is, if he or she is indeed able to return to work at all). The financial losses that result from not being able to work for a significant period of time can be massive, yet in the case the of maritime workers injured while employed in the service of their vessels, maintenance and cure benefits are meant to mitigate them.
When referring to "maritime injuries," most likely assume those to be injuries sustained by crew members while at sea. Yet vessels are not always at sea (or even in the water, for that matter). As many of those that we here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP have worked with can confirm, there are almost as many dangers associated with ships on land as there are when those same ships are at sea. Your interactions with ships on land are most likely to occur on dry docks. The question then becomes whether federal maritime regulations protect offer the same employee protections when a ship is in a dry dock.
The work being done by those employed at the docks of Manhattan and the rest of the U.S. is vital to the country's economic well-being. It is also recognized as having several inherent risks. Thus, federal laws such as a the Longshore Act have been enacted to protect you and others engaged in such work. The Longshore Act specifically offers financial assistance to help deal with the expenses related to your dockside injury. Yet one important element to understand prior to planning on receiving such assistance is whether you qualify for it at all.