Accident and Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Many accident victims are overwhelmed by their injuries, and the thought of a legal case can seem daunting. At Hofmann & Schweitzer, our legal team understands these feelings, and we’ve compiled our thoughts on many common worries here to help you get started finding the answers you need to protect yourself and your family. If you’ve been hurt in a construction, maritime, or railroad accident, browse our FAQs today.

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  • Recovering Fair Damages After a Lobster Fishing Back Injury

    I hurt my back while working as a commercial lobsterman off the coast of New England. Can I recover damages?

    Yes. You may be able to recover damages if you were hurt doing your job as a commercial lobsterman. The exact damages that you are able to recover will depend on the specific facts of your case.

    Don’t Jeopardize Your Recovery

    While the law may allow you to make a fair recovery for your commercial lobster fishing injuries, there are things that you should do to protect yourself. Specifically, it is important:

    • Not to give a signed or recorded statement—especially if you have not already spoken with a lawyer.
    • To see a doctor. You may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, up to the maximum medical cure, and for your maintenance costs, such as food and housing, while your injuries keep you out of work. However, you will need to establish what those injuries are before you can recover damages.

    Additionally, it is important that you don’t agree to a settlement before talking to a lawyer or go back to work without clearance from your doctor.

    Instead, Protect Your Rights After a Back Injury

    You can protect your potential damages by seeing a doctor, following your doctor’s orders, and by watching what you say (or not saying anything) before you contact a lawyer.

    Your recovery is important. It may help end your pain. It may help get you back to work. Don’t play games with it; instead, learn more about your rights in our free guide for injured maritime workers.

  • Why You Should Call a Lawyer After an Atlantic Fishing Accident Injury

    Maritime law establishes what you may recover after an Atlantic fishing accident, but it does not guarantee your recovery. The law does not guarantee that the parties responsible for paying for your Atlantic fishing accident recovery will do so without being encouraged, or required, to do so.

    A Lawyer Can Make Sure Your Rights are Protected

    You do not want to risk leaving money on the table. If you fail to make a full legal recovery then you could end up in financial trouble when you have high medical expenses and little or no income due to your injuries. You can help prevent this from happening by contacting a maritime lawyer to help you make a fair recovery.

    Those responsible for paying your maritime damages have professionals working for them. Those professionals are hired to protect their rights and to make sure that they don’t pay more than they owe or pay frivolous claims.

    You deserve to have someone looking out for your legal rights and best interests. You deserve to have someone fight to get you the recovery that the law allows.

    Hiring a lawyer will not prevent you from returning to work as a commercial fisherman in the future. Instead, a lawyer will make sure that your rights are protected so that you can recover, to the extent possible, and return to work.

    For more information, please do not hesitate to call us directly at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY and to read our FREE publication, Are You a Seaman injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

  • What Are the Dangers of Working in a New York Shipyard?

    Yes, working in a shipyard is dangerous. While there may be many benefits to the work, including the income you can earn and the rewarding work that you will do, there are also specific dangers you need to know about.

    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the injury accident rate among shipyard workers is more than twice what it is for general industry—including construction.

    What This Means For You

    It does not mean that you should not take the job. Instead, it means that you should make sure that:

    • You are well trained for the work that you are doing.
    • You work for an employer who cares about safety and who provides all the appropriate safety equipment and training to workers.
    • You know what to do if you are injured.

    It is possible to recover from some shipyard injuries.

    But You Have to Know How

    After you see a doctor and have a plan to recover physically, you will likely need to see a lawyer to develop a plan to recover financially. You may have lost a significant amount of income if you are hurt and can’t work, and you may be incurring significant medical bills. However, the law may allow you to recover from your lost income due to your work injury.

    For more information, please read our FREE publication, The Legal Rights Of Injured Seamen, Dockbuilders, Dredgemen And Other Commercial Mariners: Ten Important Questions Answered , and please start an online chat with us now.

  • Does the Longshore Act Apply to Your Work Injury?

    Since its enactment in 1927, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act) has provided protection to some maritime workers who are hurt on the job. If you have been hurt while working on a dock, in a harbor, or in another maritime position then you are going to want to know if the Longshore Act applies to you and what you should do to protect your rights.

    Who Qualifies for Protection?

    Generally, a longshoreman, harbor worker, shipbuilder, ship repairer, or ship breaker may be covered by the Longshore Act. However, there are some people who work on docks or in harbors who do not qualify for protection.

    Specifically, the Longshore Act has explicit exceptions for the following kinds of workers if state workers’ compensation laws apply to their recoveries:

    • Workers who exclusively do secretarial, clerical or data processing work
    • Workers who exclusively do security work
    • Workers who are employed by a club, camp, retail outlet, restaurant, recreational operation or museum
    • Workers who are employed by a marina and who are not working in the construction, replacement, or expansion of the marina
    • Aquaculture workers
    • Workers who are employed to build, repair or dismantle recreational vessels under sixty-five feet in length
    • Individuals employed by suppliers, transporters or vendors
    • Some individuals who are temporarily doing business
    • Individuals who are not doing work that is normally done by those who are covered by the Longshore Act

    It also does not apply to:

    • A master or crew member of a vessel
    • Workers asked by a master to load, unload, or repair a small vessel that weighs under eighteen tons

    Other laws apply to protect the rights of these injured workers.

    Pursue a Claim According to the Applicable Law

    The myriad of maritime injury laws and other workers’ compensation laws is complex and it is important to pursue the right type of claim in order to protect your recovery. If you have questions about which laws apply to you, we encourage you to read the articles in the related link section of this page and start a live chat with us today.

  • What are my rights if I am injured as a marine construction worker in the State of New York?

    First of all, your employer is responsible for providing benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) which will provide medical treatment for the injuries you sustained at work and will also provide you with compensation payments during your period of disability. Depending on the part of your body that is injured, you may also be entitled to a lump sum award if you have any permanent injuries.

    Depending on the circumstances which caused your injuries and the type of work you were performing you may also be able to pursue a lawsuit under Section 905(b) of the LHWCA, under the General Maritime Law and/or due to violations of the New York State Labor Law.

    Special Rights Under New York Labor Law Sections 200, 240 AND 241

    Some special laws apply to construction workers in New York. Construction and demolition workers are entitled to recover damages caused by a violation of New York Labor Law sections 200, 240(1) and 241(6). Under section 240, if the equipment required by that law is not provided, or fails, there is strict liability against both the owner of the property, and the contractor(s) on the job site, and you are entitled to compensatory damages caused by the violation. This statute is a strong weapon in your arsenal, so much so that even your own contributory negligence will not reduce your recovery. The safety benefits of this statute cover all workers who are injured by a gravity or elevation-related risk. It dictates that various safety devices must be installed and in good working order during the construction or demolition of any structure to protect you from falling or being struck by a falling object.

    Under New York Labor Law, Section 241, additional rights are provided to the construction worker against the property owner and other contractors if they fail to comply with the law. Labor Law Section 241 Subsections (1) through (5) provide for specific actions to be followed, and equipment to be provided, on the job site. And under Labor Law, Section 241, Subsection (6), owners and contractors are required to comply with various regulations adopted by the New York Department of Labor for the construction workers' protection. Finally, under Section 200, owners, architects and contractors must fulfill common law duties to protect construction workers from injury.

  • Does Maritime Law Apply to Me if I Was Injured While Working in the Harbor?

    Maritime law does apply to harbor workers, though different laws apply to harbor workers than to seamen. The most significant law that applies to harbor workers is called the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.

    The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act protects workers who are involved in the maritime industry but who do not work on navigable waters or on the high seas. Harbor workers who are injured on the job are entitled to compensation for their injuries pursuant to this law. Damages can include compensation for 2/3 of your average weekly wage for a number of weeks. The number of weeks depends on the body part that was injured.

    In order to recover disability payments pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, it is important to file your claim in a very specific way. The New York and New Jersey maritime lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can help you recover the damages to which you are entitled.

  • How Long Do I Have to File a Jones Act Case

    Generally, you have three years from the date of your maritime injury to file a claim pursuant to the Jones Act. However, there are several reasons why it is extremely important that you do not delay in consulting with a New Jersey and New York Jones Act attorney after your accident.

    First, it is important to consult with an attorney quickly because the Jones Act statute of limitations, or the time that you have to file a claim, may be shorter than three years in some cases.

    Second, it is important to consult with a New York and New Jersey Jones Act attorney quickly so that evidence is preserved and your case is as strong as it can be.

    Finally, it is important to consult with a New Jersey and New York Jones Act lawyer quickly so that you can get started on your road to recovery. Often, a maritime employer will not provide the damages to which an injured seaman is entitled until an experienced maritime lawyer requires the employer to do so.

    If you’ve been hurt in a maritime accident, please contact the experienced Jones Act lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer today. We can be reached at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or via our online contact form.

  • What kinds of maritime accidents result in Jones Act claims?

    If you have a maritime job and you were hurt at sea then you may be wondering if the Jones Act applies to your potential recovery. The Jones Act does not define specific accidents that are covered by the law. For example, the Jones Act does not say that a seaman who slips on deck and breaks a leg can always recover damages. As a result, if you’ve been hurt at sea, it is up to you to figure out whether the Jones Act applies to your case based on the cause of your injury.

    The Jones Act: General Rules for Recovery

    The Jones Act allows injured seamen to recover damages for injuries that occur because of:

    • The negligence of the employer or another employee
    • A defect or problem with equipment that was caused by the employer

    The injury may occur while the seaman is working or while he is living on the boat.

    Accidents That May Be Covered by the Jones Act

    Some examples of accidents that may be covered by the Jones Act include those caused by:

    • Bad weather that should have been anticipated
    • An assault by another employee
    • Failure to supervise
    • Failure to provide medical assistance promptly
    • Failure to provide appropriate equipment for the job
    • Failure to make sure that equipment is in proper working order

    The injuries that may result include:

    • Broken bones
    • Head or brain injuries
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Muscle, tendon or joint injuries
    • Internal injuries

    Of course these lists are not exhaustive. If you have been hurt and have questions about your potential recovery then it is important to consult an experienced Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible. Please start a live chat with us today to learn more.

  • What Should I Do to Collect Compensation After a Deckhand Injury

    If you are an injured deckhand then the steps that you take after your accident are very important to your ultimate recovery. There are three things that you should do as soon as you are injured. The first thing that you should do is to seek medical treatment for your injuries. The Jones Act Law does not require you to see a doctor chosen by your employer. You may be treated by any qualified doctor of your choice. Then, you should report your injury to your employer. However, you should not give a recorded statement or sign any papers without the advice of your New Jersey or New York maritime attorney.

    Finally, it is important to consult with an experienced New York and New Jersey Jones Act lawyer who knows how to investigate your case, negotiate with your employer, and pursue damages in court if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached.

    If you are a deckhand who has been hurt in a maritime accident, then you need to protect your right to potential compensation. Call the New York City maritime lawyers at Hofmann & Schweitzer today for a free consultation. We can be reached at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY.

  • Do I Have to Give a Recorded Statement to Recover Damages Pursuant to the Jones Act

    No. There is nothing in the Jones Act that requires seamen to give a recorded statement to their employer in order to obtain benefits. In fact, if an employer or insurance company is trying to get you to give a recorded statement then it is very likely that the questioner will try to get you to say something that will hurt, rather than help, your claim.

    While our New York and New Jersey maritime accident lawyers encourage seamen who have been injured to promptly report the accident to their employer and to follow all reasonable procedures, we also encourage seamen to be suspicious if a recorded statement is requested.

    If your employer, or an insurance company, has requested that you provide a recorded statement, or has insisted that you must provide a recorded statement in order to recover benefits, please contact a New Jersey or New York Jones Act lawyer before you provide such a statement. You can be confident that your employer and the insurance company are being advised by counsel. Give yourself the same benefit before you provide any recorded responses