As an injured merchant mariner you may have only one opportunity to pursue a claim for damages as a result of your maritime injury. It can be critical that you use this one opportunity wisely to compensate fully for your loss, which may last a lifetime.
You may be entitled to claim benefits as a Jones Act / general maritime law seaman. This puts you in a "class above" most other workers in that you are not limited to benefits under a State workers compensation program, which, in many circumstances, either does not apply or does not nearly adequately compensate you in the event of personal injury.
In order to obtain benefits as a Jones Act / general maritime law seaman, in general, all that is required is that you have some connection to a vessel, regardless of size, that is "in navigation," which can mean simply that it floats and accomplishes a specific mission. In our experience, we have seen "vessels" no larger than skiffs or work barges qualifying as vessels in navigation for purposes of injured workers obtaining maritime benefits. You do not even need to necessarily live, sleep or eat aboard the vessel to qualify.
If you qualify as a Jones Act / general maritime law seaman, you may qualify for significant benefits and remedies under Federal law. These could include the right to recover your lost earnings while you are disabled, as well as lost future earnings if you are unable to return to your former employment. Further, you may be entitled to costs of retraining, and all of your medical and related treatment needs, with the right to be involved in selection of your medical providers. Also, you may be entitled to recover for pain and suffering arising as a result of your injury. A living expense, "maintenance," sometimes payable while you are recovering from injury and under treatment, may also be due.
When our maritime lawyers represent a client, we determine what benefits are due. In most circumstances, as stated in our contingency fee agreement, there is no charge for recovery of wages due to the end of your contract for maintenance, or for work involved in obtaining medical treatment and medical treatment-related assistance. See "Contingency Fees" on this Website.