Most people in California have heard, seen or read reports about the recent fire that struck a dive boat off the shore of Southern California. Tragically, 34 people died in the fire as they were reported to have been unable to flee the burning vessel. All of those who died were paying passengers. The only survivors were the five crewmembers. The fire erupted in the middle of the night when everyone, including the crew, was asleep. The incident is raising many questions about the liability for the fire and the cause of the fire.
Working professionals in any industry take comfort in the knowledge that workers’ compensation laws are in place to provide for them when they are injured at work, and you as a maritime worker are no exception. The protections afforded to you and your co-workers through the Jones Act may be well-known; what you may not know is that ships can actually request that the Jones Act be waived in their regard. A common question we field here at Russell Mirkovich & Morrow is whether or not the employee protections afforded by the Jones Act are also suspended when a vessel is granted a waiver.
The expectation is that when you are injured at work, your employer will cover the expenses related to that injury. That expectation applies even when you work in the maritime industry. Even if your injury occurs out on waters far away from Long Beach, employee legal protections (more specifically, The Jones Act) follow you around the world. Many in your profession come to us here at Russell, Mirkovich & Morrow prepared to pursue a standard workers' compensation claim after having been injured at sea, yet the guidelines governing maritime accident injuries are somewhat unique.
Whether you are a California land-based maritime employee or working offshore, the risk of injury is considerable. As a result, having the right coverage in the event of an accident on the job is critical. At Russel Mirkovich & Morrow, we often handle claims for clients injured offshore.