Maritime industry workers often suffer from harsh environments, unsafe working conditions, and hazards that can cause serious accidents. A major injury can leave you unable to work while you shoulder medical costs and other expenses.
If you suffered an injury while on duty as a maritime employee, you may have several options for seeking compensation for lost wages under state and federal law. Consult a Texas maritime accident attorney to understand your rights and learn how you can file a claim.
Lost Earnings and Earning Capacity
Lost wages, or “lost earnings” per the Jones Act, refer to the wages and other benefits you lose because of your work-related accident. This includes any payouts you expect to lose until your contract ends or until you can return to work. For long-term injuries, you may also be able to claim compensation for prospective wages your injury prevents you from earning.
Figuring out the pay a worker could have earned over time may be tricky, especially if you’re dealing with a permanent injury. A Texas maritime accident attorney will calculate your lost earning capacity based on several variables, including the following:
- Your recovery prospects, depending on the seriousness of your injury and a realistic perspective of your ability to return to work
- Potential pay increases and promotions you could have achieved over your career if it weren’t for your injury
- Work-life expectancy (i.e., how long you would have likely continued working based on your age, education, and other factors)
Laws That Protect Injured Workers in the Maritime Industry
Admiralty law includes several acts that allow injured maritime workers to recover lost wages. Two important acts to be aware of are the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The Jones Act
Under the Jones Act, seamen injured on duty can file a claim against their maritime employers. Jones Act claims work similarly to other personal injury claims, meaning you must show that your employer’s negligence caused or contributed to your accident. However, claims under the Jones Act usually involve a lower burden of proof than a typical personal injury lawsuit.
The Jones Act covers circumstances like oil spills, insufficient employee training, and inadequate safety equipment or protocols. In addition to lost wages, a Jones Act claim enables you to seek compensation for medical costs and pain and suffering. The timeframe for this type of claim is usually three years from the date of the injury.
You could also seek no-fault benefits under general maritime law, namely medical bills and maintenance benefits.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or LHWCA, covers maritime industry employees who work onshore, such as harbor workers, shipbreakers, and dock workers. Under this act, injured workers can claim compensation for the following:
- Medical costs related to the accident
- Two-thirds of their wages throughout the recovery period
- Lost earning capacity in cases of permanent disability
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)
Another act that protects maritime industry workers is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Under this act, LHWCA jurisdiction extends to employees working in areas like the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the Gulf of Mexico.
McLaurin Law PLLC Can Help You Claim Lost Wages After a Maritime Injury
At McLaurin Law, we help injured maritime workers claim compensation for lost wages and other damages related to workplace accidents. If you suffered an injury on duty, contact our law firm today. A skilled Texas maritime accident attorney will look into your case, help you calculate your lost wages, and guide you through the claim process.
Call (713) 322-5523 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.