Maritime law is a very old and specialized area of law that regulates businesses that carry cargo and passengers over water, among other things. If you work on navigable waters, such as lakes or rivers, your rights are different from those of workers in jobs on land in Michigan. For example, if a seaman suffers injuries or death due to their employer's negligence related to faulty equipment on a vessel, an injury attorney can help them bring a claim against their employer for wages, medical expenses, and loss of services and society of a spouse under the Jones Act. At the Neumann Law Group, our Grand Rapids and Traverse City maritime lawyers can assist you in seeking damages in connection with harm that occurred on navigable waters.Maritime Law
There are many laws that make up maritime law. One of the most important is the Jones Act, which was passed in order to protect maritime workers who have gotten sick or injured while working on the water. Under the Jones Act, any negligence that contributes to or causes a crew member's illness or injury, even if that negligence is miniscule, is enough to establish the employer's liability.
Some workers may be uncertain about whether the Jones Act applies to them. However, any worker with a significant connection to a boat or another vessel being navigated is covered, including busboys and maintenance workers. The vessel does not need to be out on navigable waters to recover damages. When a boat is staffed and in use, even while docked, the Jones Act protects its workers.
As a crew member, the first thing that you will need to do is get medical care. Your employer will likely create an accident report. This is used to determine whether your employer contributed to the accident for the purposes of Jones Act liability, so it is important to describe any factors in the workplace that might have contributed, including unsafe procedures, insufficient workers, or slippery floors. The report should be detailed and accurate, and it should be filled out in a timely fashion.
Another law that protects maritime workers is the Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act. Our maritime attorneys can help Traverse City and Grand Rapids workers bring claims under this law as well. This federal law provides compensation to offshore workers who become ill or disabled due to their work. It covers workers who are actively working on a pier, wharf, terminal, dry dock, or other area that is used to load, unload, or repair a vessel to be used on the water. Like the Jones Act, the Longshore Act allows workers to receive financial compensation for their workplace injuries or a loved one's death. The law is administered by any one of 15 district offices operated by the federal government. It excludes anyone covered by the Jones Act.
If you believe that you qualify for coverage under the Longshore Act, you are required to provide written notice to both your employer and the United States Department of Labor within 30 days of the injury or death date, or within 30 days of becoming aware that there is a relationship between the harm and the employment.Retain an Experienced Maritime Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City
If you are thinking about filing a maritime law claim in Michigan, you should retain an attorney who is familiar with the applicable laws. At the Neumann Law Group, our experienced Traverse City and Grand Rapids maritime attorneys can help you pursue damages if you have been injured or made sick in connection with your work on a vessel. Our firm also represents people in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact the Neumann Law Group at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free appointment with a maritime or admiralty attorney.