How Can An Offshore Accident Attorney Assist A Hurt Seaman?

by Terry Bryant

An offshore accident attorney is often the only person capable of helping a seaman after they have been hurt on the job. Seamen are not eligible for workers’ compensation in the event of injury and must instead pursue a negligence claim against an employer or vessel owner. Qualified seamen also have a right to maintenance and cure, and this is intended to help a hurt seaman handle their medical and living expenses in the interim. However, vessel owners often shortchange a hurt worker in this respect, putting a significant financial burden on the victim during their moment of greatest need.

When a seaman is hurt, the Jones Act will play a large part in the settlement process, so an offshore accident attorney will need to know it inside and out. Fortunately, claims made through the Jones Act require less proof than most other negligence claims, so vessel owners and employers take on much more liability than most other defendants. Even a blind corner on a ship can make the vessel owner liable if an injury occurs as a result.

What constitutes a qualified seaman is determined by a few things. For one, the worker must be assigned to an active vessel. They must also contribute to the vessel’s purpose or maintenance, and must spend much of their time working on the vessel. A defendant will usually challenge the worker in this area, so an attorney may be needed to establish an employee’s work history and qualifications as a seaman.