Recently, attorney Lee J. Bloomfield, presented a seminar entitled: "Don't Miss the Boat: Basics of Maritime Personal Injury Law in 45 Minutes"
From the seminar papers, we are producing a blog series. This blog series will include an introduction and will then cover the topics discussed for the Jone's Act and The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
Here is a hypothetical: You have a client who suffered an injury while working for an inland river barge fleeting service. The client spent 25% of the time working on barges owned by the employer, 25% of the time working on the employer's spacer barge that is tied with lines to a dock, and 50% of the time working either on the dock itself or shore-side.
The client suffered a leg injury after falling off of an unsafe ladder while climbing from one of the employer's barges to the spacer barge. As a result of the injury, the client is now limited to medium work and cannot return to maritime employment. Given the client's age, education, and the medication necessary to treat the resulting injuries, the client may now be totally disabled. The treating physician, however, assigned a permanent physical impairment of only 3% to the lower extremity. While the client was undergoing medical treatment, benefits were paid by the employer pursuant to the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act.
The client has come to you to negotiate a settlement of the compensation claim. What is the case worth? If it is a Tennessee comp case, it is not worth much, even before the recent changes to comp law. If you settle the claim for the maximum amount of benefits available under Tennessee comp, you may be missing the boat, because under this factual scenario, the client may be covered under a federal statute known as the "Jones Act," or a federal statute known as the "Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act." Either of these may offer a much greater recovery for your client.
The blog post, to follow, will cover The Jones Act (Generally).