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Under maritime law, individuals who work in the naval industry—whether on board ships or otherwise—are entitled to compensation when they are injured on the job. There are several distinct laws that protect maritime workers and their families, the most of common of which include the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. Maritime law is a very specific area of personal injury law. A successful claim requires the assistance of an experienced attorney with an in-depth understanding of these laws.
At Banker Law Group, P.C., Anthony Banker has been practicing maritime law since 1998 when he began working with a renowned firm that had been representing international ship owners for nearly two centuries. He then went on to work with the largest maritime law firm on the West Coast where he saw how ship owners' insurance companies worked tirelessly to protect their own best interests. Now, Anthony uses this invaluable experience to aggressively advocate on behalf of injured maritime workers.
He understands exactly how the insurance companies operate—and what it takes to successfully negotiate with them or take them on before a judge and jury. Our firm can assist you with a variety of legal matters that fall under maritime law, including but not limited to:
- Commercial fishing injuries
- Jones Act claims
- Obtaining maintenance and cure benefits/issues
- Cruise ship injury claims
- Recreational boating injuries
Are you an injured maritime worker? Was your loved one killed in a ship-related accident? Contact Banker Law Group at (907) 222-2999 for a free consultation with an experienced Anchorage maritime law attorney.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that requires any goods that are transported between U.S. ports to be shipped on vessels that are built, owned, and operated by U.S. citizens. Additionally, it allows maritime workers to recover compensation when they are injured or become ill on the job
Generally speaking, an injured seaman may collect compensation when unsafe vessels/conditions or negligent actions by coworkers lead to injuries and/or illness. While the law states that only “seamen” are covered by this Act, it does not define the term. Court precedent generally includes the following individuals:
- A person who works onboard a ship, vessel, or fleet that operates in waters that are used for the purpose of national and/or international trade;
- Who carries out duties (no matter how major or minor) related to the operation of the ship/vessel and/or its purpose, and;
- Spends a “significant” portion of time aboard the ship/vessel (often, at least 30% of his/her total working hours).
In contrast to standard workers' compensation claims (which apply in most on-land workplace injury cases), injured maritime workers are permitted to bring negligence claims against their employers. This includes instances of “unseaworthy vessels,” in which a vessel's poor condition causes or leads to the seaman's injuries.
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
Maritime workers' families are also protected by federal law. The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) allows certain family members and dependents to collect compensation when their loved ones are killed in international waters. In order to bring a claim, you will need to show that your loved one's death resulted from negligence or the “unseaworthiness” of a vessel.
“Unseaworthiness” is a term used to refer to a ship or vessel that, due to poor condition, should not have been in use. Under the DOHSA, surviving spouses, children, and dependents may also recover compensation when their loved ones are killed in aviation accidents that occur in or over international waters. “International waters” refers to areas of the high seas that are 12 nautical miles or further from U.S. shores.
You Need an Experienced Attorney on Your Side
If you were injured onboard a ship or lost a loved one who was working on an unseaworthy vessel, it is crucial that you discuss your legal rights and options with a qualified Anchorage maritime law attorney. These are highly complex cases, and not every law firm has the resources, experience, and legal knowledge to effectively pursue your claim.
At Banker Law Group, we have 20 years of legal experience, including firsthand experience with complex maritime law cases. Our team can assist you with every aspect of the insurance claim process and is prepared to be the tireless advocate you and your family deserve.