If you’ve recently suffered a maritime or offshore injury in California, you may have several questions:
Contact us today to learn more about what to expect after being injured in an offshore or maritime accident.
California has one of the most powerful economies in the world – ranking higher than most countries and at #6 globally. The state’s ocean economy is also ranked #1 in the United States, generating billions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs. 40 ports and harbors are scattered throughout California’s 840 miles of coastline, and countless communities rely on these maritime workplaces to make a living.
While the economic benefits of these coastal workplaces are clear, this line of work does have risks. Workers in different maritime and offshore settings are regularly injured on the job, and may require long recovery periods away from work. Sometimes, these injuries occur only because of the negligence of an employer, crew member, or vessel owner. When this happens, it’s important for injured offshore workers to find a local maritime lawyer who can fight for the financial compensation they’re entitled to.
Offshore workers and maritime workers who spend at least 30% of their time working in the service of a vessel on navigable waters can seek financial compensation under the Jones Act. This Act allows you to hold your employer liable for negligence. If you’re not covered under this Act, there are other maritime laws which can help provide you with financial compensation.
There are two main forms of compensation available under the Jones Act.
The first is known as maintenance and cure. These benefits are no-fault and do not consider how negligence may have caused your injury. Instead, you’re guaranteed financial compensation for necessary living expenses (like rent and utility bills) and your medical expenses.
If some form of negligence contributed to your injury, you may also have the option to seek additional benefits in a Jones Act claim. Your employer can be held liable for any type of negligence, including mistakes made by improperly trained employees. Vessel owners can also be held liable for damages if the vessel you got injured on is deemed unseaworthy.
If you’re unsure whether you’re covered under the Jones Act or not, it may be useful to discuss the terms of your employment and circumstances of your injury with an experienced maritime injury lawyer. Even if you’re not covered, a lawyer with an understanding of maritime law can help you apply for other benefits, such as a Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation claim.
California’s ports range in size, from small fishermen’s ports to world-class mega-ports that import billions of dollars worth of cargo each year. Some of the most prominent ports in California include:
This is the busiest container port in the United States and handled 182.8 million metric revenue tons in 2016, worth a total of $272 billion. The Port of Los Angeles employs approximately 896,000 people in the LA County region and accounts for 3.6 million jobs worldwide.. With its shores on the Pacific Ocean, 92% of goods traded in this port are done with Asian countries as trade partners. Top imports include furniture, auto parts, apparel, electronics, and plastics. Exports include paper, animal feed, scrap metals, fabrics, and soybeans. It’s also a popular site for cruise departures, as over 600,000 passengers passed through in 2016.
The Port of Long Beach ranks only behind Los Angeles as the #2 busiest container port in the nation. In an average year, this port handles 82.3 million metric tons of cargo, valued at approximately $180 billion. This port also provides about 316,000 jobs for the Southern California region. When considering all jobs which either directly or indirectly rely on the Port of Long Beach, that figure swells to over a million jobs nationwide.
Top imports include crude oil, electronics, plastics, furniture and clothing. The main exports consist of petroleum products, chemicals, waste paper, and foods. Like the Port of Los Angeles, over 90% of trade in this port is done with East Asian trade partners.
The Port of San Diego is another one of America’s busiest ports, with about 3 million metric tons of cargo moving through its terminals each year. This port is the primary entry point for many foreign car manufacturers, including Honda, Fiat, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, and more. The port also has a 24.5 year lease with Dole Food Company, making them one of the main banana suppliers in the US. This port also contains a major cruise ship facility, and approximately 250,000 passengers travel through the port each year.
The Port of Oakland is responsible for loading and discharging over 99% of containerized goods that move through Northern California. About 2.4 million container units pass through these waters each year, making it the 5th busiest port in the United States. Top international trade partners include Asia (about 76%), Europe (13.5%) and Australia/New Zealand/Oceania (5%).
One of the country’s most diverse ports, the Port of San Francisco consists of 550 ground, commercial, retail, office, industrial, and maritime leases. It also contains famous landmarks like Fisherman’s Wharf, as well as many other recreational and transportation facilities and activities.
This port is run by the Port of San Francisco’s Maritime Division, which manages various businesses including cruises, cargo shipping, fishing, ship repairs, boat tours, and several other maritime industries.
While all maritime and offshore workers are entitled to financial compensation after a work injury, not all workers have an easy time recovering the financial compensation they deserve. Many who attempt to get through the claims process on their own have their claims disputed and denied by employers and insurers. In order to give yourself a fair fight against powerful insurance companies with skilled lawyers on their side, it’s often necessary to have your own legal counsel who can guide you through the process.
Our maritime lawyers offer free initial consultations and work on contingency fees, which means you pay us nothing unless we help you win. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and to begin fighting for the financial compensation you and your family deserve.