If you are a maritime worker injured while on the job, there are many advantages to seeking legal representation from an experienced offshore injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident takes place. There are statutes of limitations for filing a maritime injury claim under the Jones Act and other maritime laws. If you wait too long to file a claim, you may find yourself unable to seek compensation for the damages caused by your injuries.
The statutes of limitations vary, depending on which laws apply in your case:
The Jones Act
Enacted in the 1920s, the Jones Act provides important protections for injured maritime workers who qualify as “seamen.” In addition to maintenance and cure benefits, it gives maritime workers injured on the job the right to seek compensation for damages when their injuries were caused by the unseaworthiness of a vessel or a negligent act by the ship’s owner, captain or crew. The statute of limitations for filing a claim under the Jones Act is three years from the date of the accident.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
Injured workers must file a claim no later than 30 days after the injury took place; an LHWCA claim for benefits must be filed within one year following the date of the accident.
Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
If you are the relative of an individual whose death was caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring on the high seas beyond 3 nautical miles from the shore of the United States, you have three years from the date of death to file a claim under DOHSA.
Admiralty Jurisdiction Act, Suits in Admiralty Act, Public Vessels Act
It you were injured while working on a vessel owned or chartered by the U. S. Government, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury; however, you may need to file a claim before you file a lawsuit. Even though the statute of limitations is two years, you actually only have eighteen months to file a claim – there is a six month denial period before you can file.
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)
This can be confusing, because the states adjacent to the location of the drilling rig or other offshore structure determine what the statutes of limitations are in OCSLA cases, rather than the federal government. The statute of limitations vary from state to state. For instance, you have a year in Louisiana to file a claim; in Texas, you have two years; in Mississippi, three; and in Florida, you have up to four years. An OCSLA injury lawyer will be able to determine which state laws apply in your circumstances.
Don’t Wait until It’s Too Late to File a Maritime Injury Claim
If you are a maritime worker who was injured on the job, you have a right to seek compensation for the damages incurred due to your injuries. However, you only have a limited time in which to do so. Missing a filing deadline for a maritime injury claim could result in your claim being dismissed.
The New Orleans maritime lawyers at Lambert Zainey have been helping injured maritime workers get the justice they deserve after being injured on the job since the 1970s. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our offshore injury attorneys. We know the Jones Act and other maritime laws inside and out and will be able to determine which laws apply in your case and how much time you have left to file a claim.