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David B. Anderson
David B. Anderson
Gordon T. Carey, Jr.
Gordon T. Carey, Jr.
Douglas R. Williams
Douglas R. Williams
Nicholas J. Neidzwski
Nicholas J. Neidzwski
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David B. Anderson, Gordon T. Carey, Douglas R. Williams, and Nicholas J. Neidzwski are proud members of the Maritime Law Association of the United States.

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Maritime Employment Contracts

Being a seaman or maritime employee isn't like most 9 to 5 jobs. Sailors, seamen, commercial fishermen and other at-sea employees may work voyage-to-voyage for different employers, working on contract. Even long-term employees may have employment contracts they have signed.

Being on-contract can sometime pose unique issues, including where a lawsuit must be filed. However, it doesn't mean you have no rights when you are injured on the job.

Maritime Injuries and Contracted Employees in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California

If you've been injured on the job but are concerned because of your contract status, or because a contract clause may cause a particular hardship, our Portland maritime contractor lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski can help you regardless of your specific circumstances. We represent maritime employees on contract coast-to-coast, including injuries occuring in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and North Pacific. Call us at 1 (800) 262-8529 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case today.

We represent clients throughout Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska, with offices in Bellingham, Seattle and Portland.


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Independent Contractors and Oregon On-the-Job Injuries

The Jones Act protects seamen's rights to recover after being injured on the job due to employer negligence. However, many employers will argue that people working for them are not employees, but rather independent contractors.

An independent contractor is a self-employed person who is hired to perform a specific service. In the shipping and maritime industry, seamen may be hired to work on a particular vessel on a particular voyage. His or her service to the company could end when the voyage ends. He or she may work for an entirely different company on a different ship the next week.

After an injury, the employer could attempt to use those argument to say that you are not an employee, and therefore do not qualify for protections under the Jones Act. However, even if you are on contract for a particular job and not a permanent employee, you still may qualify as an employee under the Act.
If an employee is under a contract, the court may look at a variety of factors to determine whether you qualify as an employee, including:

If you were on contract, but were under direct supervision, your supervisor had day-to-day control over what you were doing, you were paid by direct deposit and could not hire someone else to do the work you were contracted to do, for instance, there's a good chance you are an employee for the purposes of the Act.
A similar analysis applies for contract workers under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act if you are a land-based maritime employee under contract. Contract maritime employees, under many circumstances, can even recover under maintenance and cure provisions, which allow for workers compensation-like payments and coverage of medical expenses.


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Court Choices in Washington and Oregon Employment Contracts

One major factor that often comes into play that is affected by employment contracts is in what court the case will be brought. Many maritime employment contracts require cases to be brought only in the federal U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington, with courthouses in Seattle and Tacoma.

In such a case, it is likely that your case will need to be brought in that court, regardless of where your injury occurred. Your accident may have occurred in the Gulf of Alaska, and you may live in Anchorage and work exclusively in the Alaska coast, but if your employment contract says that the case must be brought in Portland, it likely must be brought there.

However, that does not mean that you will be forced to spend extensive time in Portland or wherever your case must be brought. Our Seattle maritime personal injury attorneys at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski can represent you on all legal matters in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. It is unlikely that you will even be required to come to Seattle to testify, though your circumstances may be different.


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Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski | Maritime Attorney for Contract Employees

Your contract does not have to stand in the way of you recovering for an on-the-job injury. The Portland maritime contractor lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski will fight for you. Call us today at 1 (800) 262-8529 for a free consultation.

This website was designed for martime lawyers and was created solely for general information purposes. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal or medical advice. Only a maritime attorney or physician licensed to practice in your state can provide you with official guidance based on the specific details surrounding your situation.

Additionally, contacting Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski via e-mail or phone does not create an attorney / client relationship. This relationship is only formed after a formal agreement has been made by both parties.