Have you recently been injured while working on a ship? If so, you are almost certainly buried under a mountain of medical bills and other expenses right now.
Fortunately, assistance is available. An experienced Jones Act lawyer, like those here at the law firm of Brian White & Associates in Houston, TX, may be able to help you recover the compensation you need to cover your post-accident expenses.
How Our Team Can Help You After Your Maritime Accident
At Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., we believe that maritime workers should always be fully compensated for the injuries they sustain on the job. When you come to us for assistance with your case, we will:
Explain the Legal Process
The Jones Act was signed into law 100 years ago. As such, the process of pursuing compensation under this statute can be more than a little bit complicated and confusing.
Fortunately, the attorneys here at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. are experts in maritime law, and have been helping clients file Jones Act compensation claims for years.
When you hire us to help you with your case, the first thing we will do is sit down with you and give you a detailed explanation of the process. Should you have any questions along the way, we will be more than happy to answer!
Gather Evidence to Help Prove Your Case
The claims that you make as part of your Jones Act case can only ever be as strong as the proof you have to back them up. Broadly speaking, the more relevant evidence you can present, the likelier you are to emerge from your suit with a check in your hand.
Having handled countless Jones Act cases in the past, the lawyers here at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. know what evidence you are likely to need to prove your case. When you hire us to represent you, we will work tirelessly to find and compile that evidence on your behalf.
Negotiate with Your Employer’s Insurance Company
When beginning a Jones Act compensation claim, many people believe that their suit will culminate in a lengthy courtroom battle. In reality, however, this is rarely the case. Instead, most Jones Act lawsuits are resolved when the defendant’s insurance company reaches a settlement agreement with the plaintiff.
If you would like to explore the possibility of resolving your case using a settlement agreement, you will need an experienced negotiator by your side to work out the terms with your employer’s insurer. When you work with our attorneys, that is exactly what you will get. We have been negotiating settlement agreements for years and, when you hire us, we will do everything in our power to try to land you a favorable deal.
Would you like the Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. legal team to help you with your Jones Act claim? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to us to set up a free consultation at our Houston law offices.
Understanding Maritime Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law
In the United States, an individual who is injured at a grocery store or in a car accident may use their state’s legal system to file for compensation. When a person is injured while working on a ship, they may use one of the following maritime laws to recover financial restitution:
The Jones Act (The Merchant Marine Act of 1920)
The Jones Act is an admiralty law that provides maritime workers with the right to seek damages if they are injured while performing their duties in navigable waters. However, to be eligible for compensation under this law, the injured party must be classified as a “seaman.”
Though the Jones Act does not explicitly define the term “seaman,” federal courts have consistently ruled that crew members must meet the following requirements to be classified as such:
- The worker must play a significant role in operating the ship and accomplishing its mission.
- The worker must have a direct and substantial connection to the vessel.
- The worker must spend more than 30 percent of their time aboard the vessel contributing to its operation.
Negligence Under the Jones Act
To successfully recover compensation for their maritime injury, a seaman must prove that their employer acted negligently. Under the Jones Act, this means showing that the employer failed to:
- Provide the seaman with a reasonably safe place to work, and
- Use ordinary care to maintain their vessel and keep it in a reasonably safe condition
A seaman does not need to prove that their employer’s negligence was the main cause of their injury – as they would have to do under the laws of most states. Instead, they need only show that their employer’s actions played a small role in their maritime accident.
Compensation Under the Jones Act
An injured seaman who successfully sues their employer under the Jones Act is likely to receive compensation for the following damages:
- Maintenance and cure
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
The exact amount paid out to injured seamen can vary significantly from case to case. Generally speaking, however, the more severe and long-lasting an injury is, the more compensation a seaman is likely to receive.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal law that provides maritime workers who cannot be classified as seamen with compensation if they are injured on the job. For this statute to apply, the injury must occur in one of the following places:
- The navigable waters of the United States
- A pier
- A dock
- A wharf
- A terminal, or
- Any other adjoining shipping area
Injured harbor workers and longshoremen are entitled to compensation for most of the same damages as injured seamen. However, there is no provision for the payment of maintenance and cure under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
The Death on the High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act allows the families of maritime workers to recover compensation when their loved one is killed in an on-the-job accident that occurs more than three nautical miles from the shores of the United States.
While the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act allow victims to collect several types of compensation, the Death on the High Seas Act only allows bereaved families to collect pecuniary damages. Pecuniary losses are damages that can be calculated with precision. Common examples of pecuniary losses would include child support payments and alimony payments.
At Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. in Houston, TX, we pride ourselves on being experts in every area of federal maritime law. If you have been injured on a ship and need an attorney to help you file for compensation, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We would love to meet with you to learn more about your case.
Common Causes of Maritime Injuries
There are a wide range of ways for seamen to be injured while working offshore. However, a brief sampling of some of the most common causes of maritime injuries would include:
- Slips, Trips, and Falls: Ships are filled with slippery and uneven decks and stairways. These hazards often cause marine workers to slip, trip, or fall and sustain a severe injury.
- Shifting and Falling Objects: When cargo is improperly loaded, it often shifts around or falls over and injury seamen.
- Fires and Explosions: Crew members who primarily work in a ship’s engine room are somewhat frequently injured in explosions and fires. Cooks and other kitchen workers also sustain fire-related injuries with a frightening degree of regularity.
- Toxic Chemicals: Seamen who work on ships that transport cleaning agents, solvents, and other toxic chemicals often sustain injuries after inhaling those materials.
No matter how you sustained your maritime injury, the team here at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. would love to review your case to see if you may be entitled to compensation. To set up a free consultation with one of our lawyers, just give us a call or contact us online.
Common Types of Injuries Sustained at Sea
Seamen can sustain a wide range of injuries while working on an offshore vessel. A short sampling of some of the most common injuries reported by maritime workers would include:
If you have sustained one of the injuries listed above while working on an offshore vessel, you might be entitled to compensation. To find out for sure, just give the Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. team a call and set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys at our Houston, Texas, law offices.
Looking for an Experienced Jones Act Lawyer in Houston? Contact Our Law Firm Today
The legal team here at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. has been helping the people of Houston use the Jones Act to seek compensation for their maritime injuries for years. We would love to do the same for you. When you are ready to get started, just give us a call or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.