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Ship Crew Member Will Receive Benefits After Injury on the Job

By Lependorf & Silverstein on August 5, 2014

In December of 2008, a ship crew member fell and struck his jaw against his bunk during rough seas off the New Jersey coast. He fell ill after that accident and has not been able to return to work. According to a Business Insurance news report, the owner of the commercial fishing vessel will have to pay for lodging, food and medical expenses for the injured worker even though his condition may have been related to a prior condition.

After returning to shore, the worker was hospitalized and diagnosed with aplastic anemia. It is unclear if his current condition is a direct result of the injury he suffered while working or if it is related to his prior hepatitis C diagnosis. He did not show symptoms of aplastic anemia before the accident, the report states.

The victim of this maritime accident was able to pursue compensation for his losses because of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Under the Jones Act, injured seamen may pursue support from their employer if they are the victims of negligence. The injured crew member in this case, contends that his condition worsened because he did not receive treatment and his wound became infected. He claims that he continued to work despite feeling dizzy, nauseated and weak for days after the accident.

This particular case is an example of not only how to use the Merchant Marine Act to protect workers, but also how to pursue compensation even when your claim is denied. His initial claim was rejected in U.S. District Court back in 2013 because he failed to show that the disease resulted from his work-related injury. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, found that he fell ill during his 2008 fishing trip and has remained sick ever since.

Injured shipyard or maritime workers would be well advised to seek legal guidance because they often have a difficult road ahead of them. An experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney can help injured workers obtain fair and full compensation for their injuries, damages and losses.

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