Beaumont Jones Act Lawyer
If you work in the maritime industry and have suffered an injury on the job in Beaumont, TX, you may be entitled to significant compensation under the Jones Act. However, it can be difficult for maritime workers (or their families) to get the money they need and deserve. Hiring an experienced Beaumont Jones Act lawyer at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers can help to make the process easier.
Collectively, our trial attorneys have more than 45 years of experience fighting for injured seamen and their families in the great state of Texas. With an in-depth understanding of federal disability matters, we are uniquely positioned to help you secure the best possible results after your devastating maritime injury.
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How Attorney Brian White & Associates Can Help With a Jones Act Claim in Beaumont, TX
Maritime injuries can be catastrophic. Add in the stress of a complicated claim for damages, and the situation can become overwhelming – fast. That’s where the Beaumont personal injury lawyers at Attorney Brian White & Associates can help.
We represent injured maritime workers and their families in all personal injury disputes and claims for state and federal benefits. This includes the often-challenging pursuit of damages under the Jones Act.
When you hire our law award-winning attorneys, you can expect us to:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your offshore accident
- Communicate with local, state, and federal agencies regarding your accident and injuries
- Handle all aspects of your personal injury claim so that you can focus on recovering
- Gather and analyze evidence with the assistance of experienced and qualified experts
- Advocate to ensure your rights are fully exercised under federal and Texas state law
- Bring your case to a jury, if necessary.
Our law firm is here to help you stand up and fight for the compensation you deserve after a devastating offshore accident and injury in Beaumont, Texas. Call us to arrange your initial case evaluation. We’re here for you when you need us most – 24/7/365.
How Does the Jones Act Protect Me if I’ve Been Hurt in a Maritime Accident Near Beaumont?
When you get hurt in an accident on land, Texas state personal injury and workers’ compensation laws typically apply. It’s often a different story for offshore workers – those protections aren’t in place since many accidents happen offshore.
That’s where the Jones Act comes into play.
The Jones Act – or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 – is a federal law that allows injured seamen to file personal injury lawsuits or wrongful death claims against their employers.
The Jones Act applies to all ships and water-going vessels and requires that they’re maintained in “seaworthy” condition. In other words, owners and employers of these ships have a responsibility to make sure that they have passed all required tests and safety checks and are fit to “sail without any mishaps.”
So, if you work and are injured on a ship off of the coast of Beaumont, Texas, there’s a good chance that the Jones Act will give you the right to sue your employer for damages.
Do I Qualify Under the Jones Act?
The Jones Act protects seamen, as defined by federal law.
You qualify if you:
- Work on a “vessel in navigation” – which means that your ship is operational, capable of moving, and on navigable waters.
- Contribute to the work of a vessel.
- Spend a significant amount of time – at least 30% – working on a vessel.
You don’t necessarily have to be working offshore or on the open waters when you get hurt to qualify.
The following workers (or their surviving family members) may qualify to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit under the Jones Act:
- Crew members
- Commercial fishermen
- Ship chandlers
- Dive instructors
- Masters of charter diving vessels
- Commercial divers, and
Even cruise ship chefs and bartenders may qualify for benefits under the Jones Act if their jobs meet minimum requirements.
Who Doesn’t the Jones Act Cover?
While it might seem like the Jones Act covers anyone who works on a seaworthy vessel, that’s not the case.
Longshoremen, harbor workers, and contract workers do not qualify to sue their employers under the Jones Act. However, these workers may be entitled to seek benefits under different state or federal laws, like the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
You Have to Prove Negligence to Recover Benefits Through the Jones Act
In a way, the Jones Act functions similarly to Texas workers’ compensation laws because there are set benefits you can receive if your claim is successful. However, unlike workers’ compensation, you must be able to prove negligence to win your case.
For claims involving the Jones Act, negligence means that one person (your employer) was careless and contributed to your accident and injuries.
Examples of employer negligence that can lay the groundwork for a claim under the Jones Act include:
- Not providing the crew with necessary training or equipment
- Not maintaining the vessel or equipment
- Failure to stow cargo properly
- Failure to have proper hoists and elevators on board
- Inadequate fire extinguishment systems
- Insufficient crew members on board
- Inadequate or missing guard rails or safety features
- Violations of OSHA safety standards
Crew member assault or negligence may also be sufficient to establish the right to sue your employer under the Jones Act.
What Compensation Can I Get If I’ve Been Hurt in an Offshore Accident?
Under the Jones Act, injured seamen in Beaumont, Texas can seek compensation for maintenance and cure benefits. In some cases, damages for “unseaworthiness” or wrongful death may also be available.
What’s Maintenance and Cure?
Maintenance and cure refer to two different types of benefits.
Maintenance benefits are lost benefits related to your maritime accident and injury, and includes money for:
- Room and board, and
- Cost of living.
Cost of living can include utilities, food, transportation, and more.
Maintenance benefits are paid from the moment an injured seaman leaves their ship until they reach MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement).
Cure benefits are paid to cover reasonable medical expenses related to an on-the-job injury. Compensation is available until you reach MMI.
Unseaworthiness and Wrongful Death Benefits
If a vessel isn’t seaworthy, damages beyond maintenance and cure may be available. Unseaworthiness benefits can include money for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and reduced earning capacity.
When an offshore accident is fatal, surviving family members may have the right to seek damages for a seaman’s wrongful death. These can include money for the cost of a funeral, lost financial support, and things like the family’s pain and suffering.
Can I Still File a Jones Act Claim If I’m Partially Responsible For My Accident?
Yes – contributing to your offshore accident won’t necessarily bar you from recovering compensation. However, it will affect how much money you can be awarded.
Your settlement or verdict will be reduced in direct proportion to your degree of fault. If it’s determined that you’re 15% responsible for your accident your damages will be reduced by 15%.
Your employer – and any insurance companies that might be involved – will probably try to shift as much of the blame to you as they can. So, it is important to protect yourself and fight to secure all of the benefits you deserve.
Attorney Brian White & Associates can help. Contact our Jones Act lawyers in Beaumont to learn more by scheduling a free case evaluation today.
What’s the Statute of Limitations for Jones Act Claims in Beaumont?
Injured seamen in Beaumont have up to three years to file a claim for maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act.
There are limited circumstances that might allow the statute of limitations to be extended. For instance, a seaman who contracts a serious illness that isn’t discovered within the first three years can still qualify. But, typically, failing to file a lawsuit within that three-year window will mean losing out on valuable compensation.
The best way to protect yourself is by contacting an experienced Beaumont Jones Act attorney immediately after an offshore accident.
Schedule an Initial Case Evaluation With Our Beaumont Jones Act Lawyers
Are you a seaman who was injured while working in or around Beaumont, Texas? You may have the right to file a lawsuit if your employer’s negligence contributed to your accident. Jones Act claims are complicated – it helps to get a qualified and knowledgeable personal injury attorney involved as soon as you can.
At Attorney Brian White & Associates, our team has been fighting for injured workers in Texas for years. During that time, we’ve helped clients recover tens of millions of dollars in life-changing compensation.
Led by a Board Certified personal injury trial law specialist, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. Give us a call to get started with a free consultation with a Beaumont Jones Act lawyer today.