Due to the unique issues and hazards of your industry, numerous statutes address your rights after an accident instead of relying on traditional workers’ compensation and personal injury laws. If you are injured at work, or if you lost a loved one in a maritime accident, then some of these maritime laws dictate the benefits or compensation you are entitled to recover. You should contact a St. Louis maritime accidents lawyer to discuss your rights and for essential guidance through the claim and legal process.
At The Cagle Law Firm, our St. Louis personal injury attorneys have extensive experience dealing with maritime claims related to work on the Mississippi River. You can contact us through our online form or by calling (314) 276-1681 to schedule a free consultation.
Why You Need a Maritime Lawyer
If you were injured at work, or your spouse, parent, or child was killed while on the job, you need an attorney well versed in your specific type of claim. For most industries, an Illinois or Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer can help you. However, if you are part of the maritime industry, such as if you are a river worker or seaman, then you need to hire a maritime attorney. A lawyer who handles traditional personal injury and workers’ comp claims will not be knowledgeable and experienced with the federal and state maritime laws that apply to your situation. They will not be able to offer you the legal counsel you need to maximize the benefits you are entitled to under the law. A St. Louis maritime accident lawyer from The Cagle Law Firm offers the information, insights, and resources necessary to move forward with a maritime injury claim and obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Common Maritime Accidents
The maritime industry is not for the faint of heart. River, barge, and dock workers in Illinois or Missouri face risks every day. You might consistently work on slick surfaces, which could lead to slipping or falling into the water or on the vessel. You may have to work with or around heavy equipment, and if your coworkers are not careful, these machines could entangle or trap you.
Some of the most common accidents you face as a maritime worker include:
- Heavy equipment accidents
- Crane accidents
- Mooring line accidents
- Offloading accidents
- Vessel collisions
- Dock accidents
- Shipyard accidents
- Falling objects
- Slip and falls
- Drowning accidents
- Exposure to hazardous materials
- Electrical shock/electrocution
If you are injured in an accident at port or on a barge, contact a Missouri maritime accident lawyer at The Cagle Law Firm. Whatever the specific accident or injury, we will thoroughly investigate what happened and who is responsible. We will analyze which maritime laws apply and your rights under those laws.
Common Seaman Injuries
Whether you are hurt while aboard a vessel or on land, you may experience:
- Bone fractures and crushed limbs
- Neck, back, and spine injuries, including herniated or ruptured discs
- Hand and feet injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, possibly resulting in paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries, including strained muscles and torn ligaments
- Electric shock
- Eye injuries/vision loss
- Inhalation injuries
Whatever the type or extent of your injuries, you need to speak with a St. Louis maritime accidents lawyer as soon as possible. When you are hurt at work, you should obtain all the benefits granted to you by law and the terms of your employment, including your medical expenses and lost wages. Our legal team will help you acquire these benefits, ensuring your employer or an insurance company does not take advantage of you and wrongly limit your compensation.
The Jones Act
Several laws apply to the various types maritime workers, including the Jones Act. This is a federal law also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The Jones Act entitles qualified seamen compensation for their employer’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Seamen include individuals whose employment is related to a specific ship or shipping company and who spend at least 30 percent of their time working on one or more American ships.
To obtain benefits under the Jones Act, you must establish that your employer was negligent, such as forcing you to work in unsafe conditions, not providing appropriate safety gear, or providing defective equipment. You must then connect your employer’s negligence directly to the incident that caused your injuries. This can be challenging, which is one of the many reasons why you should have an experienced and aggressive attorney on your case.
If you can establish your employer’s negligence and liability, then you are entitled to “maintenance and cure.” Maintenance encompasses your daily living expenses, including rent or a mortgage payment, utilities, and food. Cure refers to your medical expenses. If you are injured, and you want to know if you are entitled to maintenance and cure, contact our Missouri Jones Act lawyers today.
In total, the Jones Act enables you to pursue compensation for your:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vocational training
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
The Jones Act applies to seamen while the LHWCA applies to dockside workers, including those in ports, at piers, and in shipyards. If you are a longshore or harbor worker injured on duty, contact a St. Louis maritime accidents lawyer right away to discuss your right to compensation. Your right to benefits depends on whether your job entails performing maritime duties and the location of your work. You must have been injured while on navigable waters or the areas necessarily attached to them, such as piers, docks, and terminals. You must establish both the type and place of your job before you can determine whether you may obtain LHWCA benefits.
If you are covered, this federal law may entitle you to medical expenses, transportation costs, and rehabilitation. Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may obtain temporary or permanent disability payments in lieu of normal wages.
Fatal Maritime Accidents
Many common maritime accidents can result in the tragic and immediate death of your loved one or catastrophic injuries that lead to your relative’s passing; days, weeks, or months later. If you lost a spouse, parent, or child in a maritime accident, contact a Missouri maritime accident lawyer at The Cagle Law Firm as soon as you can.
If your loved one was killed on the job, whether they worked on a vessel or within the maritime industry on land, we will investigate the accident and determine which federal or state maritime law applies. Once we have a thorough understanding of the situation, we will explain your rights to compensation, which may arise under the Jones Act or LHWCA. You may also be able to pursue benefits under the Death on the High Seas Act if your loved one died while out to sea.
We can represent you in making a claim against your loved one’s employer or their insurer and negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf. If necessary, we can represent you in court. We will always fight for your family to receive the wrongful death benefits you are entitled to under the law.
Our St. Louis Maritime Accident Lawyers Can Help
The Port of St. Louis’ position inland might suggest it is a minor maritime industry location. However, it is one of the busiest ports on the Mississippi and an essential component within the U.S. shipping industry. Dozens of vessels move in and out of the port each day, employing hundreds of seamen, longshoremen, harbor workers, and other maritime workers each day. If you are one of the many maritime workers in Missouri and are injured at work, do not hesitate to seek legal advice. The legal team of The Cagle Law Firm is here to help. We can review your situation, conduct an independent investigation, and represent you in a claim for the compensation you need to recover.
To learn more about maritime law claims in Missouri, contact The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online form to schedule a free initial consultation.