Maritime Commerce In Michigan’s Ports
Michigan’s ports and harbors include commercial, government, and recreational facilities. The majority of marine cargo transportation occurs in terminals under the control of the Detroit/Wayne Country Port Authority. The Port of Detroit has either directly or indirectly created nearly 16,000 jobs in Southeast Michigan, accounting for $500 million in direct business revenue, $255 million in personal income, and $288 million in State and Federal tax revenue.
According to the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority, Michigan’s ports handle significant percentages of certain commodities transporting through the Great Lakes, including:
- 80% of all Great Lakes cement shipments
- 25% of all Great Lakes iron ore shipments
- 30% of all Great Lakes coal shipments
In total, there are 40 commercial ports in Michigan which move roughly 80 million tons of cargo each year. Top commodities traded through these ports include steel, general cargo, ore, coal, cement, stone/aggregate, petroleum, dry bulk, and liquid bulk.
Negligence & Unseaworthiness In Jones Act Claims
The Jones Act is a federal law which allows injured “seamen” to recover financial compensation after suffering an offshore or maritime injury. Anyone who spends at least 30% of their work hours in the service of a vessel on navigable waters is covered under this act.
There are a few possible forms of compensation available in a Jones Act claim:
- Maintenance and cure – These benefits are available for any eligible worker who suffers an injury while working in the service of a vessel on navigable waters. Maintenance refers to required daily living expenses, such as rent/mortgage, bills, and food. Care applies to medical bills, which will be paid up until your doctor determines that you’ve reached maximum recovery.
- Negligence – If you’re covered under the Jones Act and some form of negligence contributed to your injury, you can hold your employer liable in a Jones Act lawsuit. Negligence may be considered any failure to keep your work environment free of hazards which could cause an injury. This can apply to direct employer negligence (such as failing to provide safety equipment) or through the negligence of a co-worker.
- Unseaworthiness – If your work vessel contained a defect or other unsafe condition at the time of your injury, you can seek additional compensation under the concept of unseaworthiness. Vessel owners have a duty to keep their vessels safe for the people who use them. When a vessel owner fails to do so, injured workers can sue both the owner and potentially their employer as well, if employer negligence was a factor.
If you’re not covered under the Jones Act, don’t worry. There are other maritime laws available for financial compensation, such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
How A Lawyer Can Help
Maritime law is a complex field and maritime work injury claims often require the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in this field. Many maritime workers place too much faith in their employers and insurance companies, expecting them to look out for employee interests when an injury occurs. Unfortunately, these companies too often place their profits over the health and safety of these workers. However, a resourceful and experienced lawyer can make sure you recover the financial compensation you need and deserve after an injury.
To find out more about your rights and to begin planning for your recovery, contact one of our experienced maritime lawyers for a free consultation. We’ll fight for the compensation you deserve, and will only require payment if and when we succeed.
Additional Info On Offshore Injuries