If you’ve recently suffered an injury while working on or near one of Maine’s seaports, you may have several questions:

  • How can I support myself financially while out of work?
  • Will my medical bills be covered?
  • Will I receive payments for lost wages?
  • Am I allowed to sue my employer?
  • Can vessel owners be held liable for unsafe ships?
  • When should I talk to a lawyer?

If you’d like to learn more about your options, we can help answer your questions in a free consultation.

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fishing boats in southwest Maine harbor

With 44 ports and harbors scattered throughout Maine’s coastlines, it’s not hard to see how the state’s economy greatly benefits from a variety of maritime industries. These ports move a wide range of cargoes, and also have cruise ship terminals which transport over 48,000 people each year. Thousands of Maine residents have jobs which are either directly or indirectly involved with port operations.

Maritime occupations have unique rewards, but they also have many occupational hazards. Offshore injuries are fairly common, and often cause serious financial setbacks. Fortunately, there is financial compensation available for injured offshore workers in Maine. However, recovering the compensation you’re entitled to is not always as easy as it should be.

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Available Forms Of Compensation

Maritime industry workers generally fall into one of two groups, which qualify for different forms of financial compensation:

Jones Act Seamen

Sailors, seamen, crew members, and others who directly contribute to the function of a vessel on navigable waters are covered under the Jones Act. Anyone who spends at least 30% of their time in the service of an eligible vessel is legally considered a “seaman” under the Jones Act.

This Act provides no-fault compensation for any offshore injury, otherwise known as maintenance and cure benefits. Maintenance provides compensation for necessary living expenses, while cure covers medical expenses until the injured worker has reached maximum recovery.

Jones Act claims also consider how negligence may have caused an injury. If you can establish that some form of workplace negligence played a role in your injury, then you have the option to sue your employer for additional damages. You may also sue vessel owners who fail to keep their vessels seaworthy.

Longshore, Dock, & Harbor Workers

Maritime workers who primarily work as longshoremen, dock, or harbor workers are covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). This is a no-fault form of insurance, which provides compensation for the main expenses related to your injury, including:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Vocational rehabilitation services
  • Death benefits for surviving family members

Unlike a Jones Act claim, a LHWCA claim does not consider how negligence may have factored into your injury. You have the right to file a claim for any work-related injury, and your employer is usually protected from lawsuits even when their negligence caused the injury.

Maine’s Busiest Ports

Maine has two large seaports which handle the majority of large cargo shipments:

Port of Portland

The Port of Portland has nine terminals which handle all types of cargo, including project, containerized, bulk, break-bulk, and petroleum. It’s the largest tonnage seaport in New England and the second largest oil port on the East Coast. It’s also the second largest port of call for cruise ships in the state.

Terminals at this port include:docked boat in maine water

  • Merrill
  • Sprague Energy
  • Mobil
  • Global
  • Citgo/Turner’s Island
  • International Marine Terminal (IMT)
  • Portland Pipeline Pier #1
  • Gulf Oil
  • Portland Pipeline Pier #2

Port of Searsport

The Port of Searsport is located on Penobscot Bay and is the second largest deep-water port in Maine. The port has an on-site rail yard which allows for transportation of goods throughout the United States and Canada.

Getting The Legal Help You Need

As we mentioned before, securing financial compensation after a maritime or offshore injury is often more difficult than it should be. Many workers struggle to receive their benefits or settle for far less than they deserve. However, a knowledgeable lawyer with experience in maritime law can help you make sure you recover the full compensation you’re entitled to.

A lawyer can help guide you through aspects of the claims process which may be difficult or impossible to handle on your own. He or she can help you gather all of the evidence you need, prove your employer’s negligence, represent you in court, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

If you’d like to find out more about your rights and begin planning for your injury recovery, contact one of our experienced maritime injury lawyers today. We can help answer your questions and will only ask for payment if and when we help you recover financial compensation.

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