Maritime Injury Lawyers

Speak With A Maritime Lawyer Now
Calls Answered 24/7


The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act

If you are a maritime worker, it is important that you are informed about the Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that covers maritime employees who have sustained work-related injuries. If you have sustained work-related maritime injuries on the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining areas, you may be entitled to compensation.

The LHWCA allows employees to seek compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services if required. It covers longshoreman, harbor workers, shipbuilders, and more. Don’t get the LHWCA confused with the Jones Act, which covers seamen. The LHWCA covers maritime-specific work.

Take a look at the graphic below to learn more about The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act and be sure to contact your maritime injury attorney. They know the ins and outs of the LHWCA and can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve!

The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act

Click below to embed this infographic into your website:

2017 Oil Prices, Rig County & the Economic Impact

How oil prices rise and fall is one of the many ways to determine the rate of economic growth. Oil prices are mainly determined by demand and supply forces in the market. The rate at which a country is producing oil will determine how the prices will be, and thus, the impact on the economy.

Various analysts have different views on what we should expect the oil prices to look like in 2017. There are those that expect prices to rise, and then, there are those that foresee a decline in prices. Whatever the case, the economy will be affected as well as the rate at which drilling activities will be carried out.

2017 Oil Prices, Rig County & the Economic Impact

What’s the forecast for prices in 2017?

The consumption rate of natural gas in 2015 was 74.7 billion cubic feet (BCF) per day. In 2016, it was 75.1 (BCF) per day. In 2017, the rate is expected to be 75.4 (BCF) per day, according to a report given by The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration). The high consumption rate expected in 2017 is due to high commercial, as well as residential, use of oil during the winter season.

According to Bank of America analysts, there have been consistent low oil prices in the U.S. This has led to demand growth over the past years. When there is a gap between supply and demand, prices tend to go up, and therefore prices are expected to be on the rise this year.

Additionally, the recent decision made by OPEC to reduce oil production will definitely push prices up. However, if the OPEC members, as well as non-members, refuse to adhere to the dialing back on production law, the pressure on pricing should be expected.

U.S. drillers are expected to react to the high prices by drilling more oil in an attempt to increase supply, which, in return, may reduce prices. And with the increase of drilling, maritime accident attorneys are likely to be impacted in 2017 as chances of  drilling accidents will increase

What is the expected Rig Count in the year 2017?

The movement to reduce oil production by OPEC, with an attempt to boost oil prices, is a great enforcement to the U.S. rig count in the year 2017, according to Platts RigDataThe rig count is expected to grow by 27% in 2017. With these forecasts, the following is expected:

  • Oil prices will increase as supply levels match that of the demand
  • Increase in oil production levels. Operators will focus on getting the best wells to drill oils. In this case, local maritime lawyers will be incorporated just in case something happens out in the field.
  • Production volumes will not increase largely as earlier expected.

The fact that the production volumes per well will be less only means that more wells need to be drilled. Platts RigData says that more than 11,000 wells are expected to be drilled in the year 2017. This is an increase in number of wells compared to the year 2016, which was 8,900 wells in total.

How local maritime lawyers can be of use to workers drilling or third parties

With the increase in number of wells, more people are likely to be employed to help in drilling. These will, therefore, increase employment levels, hence improving the standards of living. With all these employees working out in the field, the employees should at least have insurance coverage that can be used in case of an accident. This is where maritime lawyers come in.

While drilling, oil may spill into the water causing human and environmental harm in the sea. Harm may also be done to sailors especially if oil tanks being transported leak oil into the sea.

As for sailors who get into accidents either transporting oil or gas tanks, the Jones Act should be their way of getting compensation. The employers of sailors should be able to compensate sailors when an accident occurs during work. Nevertheless, the Jones Actis able to protect Americans injured at sea and therefore, sailors should familiarize themselves with such laws.

Forecast on the effect of increasing wells or drilling

There are those of others who are bearish in nature, while there are those who are bulls. As for the bulls, the factors below are the key determinants of oil prices in 2017:

  • Demand for US gasoline
  • Low levels of production and the law on reducing production by OPEC
  • Imports and demands of India’s crude oil
  • Decline in Russia’s crude oil production
  • Imports from China

Bearish people, on the other hand, believe that oil prices will decrease once wells are increased. The main drivers for most bearish beliefs include:

  • Energy policy implemented by Donald Trump
  • High U.S. oil inventories
  • High production of crude oil in Nigeria and Libya
  • Supply outages globally

With all these facts, there is a likelihood of supply imbalance all through the year, despite increased spending.

What to look out for as you invest in the oil sector in 2017

So many factors indicate an increase in oil prices as well as rig count in the year 2017. However, competition from other producing countries can cause a major drift in demand. This means that demand may increase or decrease but in most cases, it is likely to go down due to stiff competition. When this happens, prices will definitely go down.

Another thing to look out for is natural disasters that are completely unexpected. Such disasters may lead to oil depletion and thus low supply. Anything like a terrorist attack on oil hubs can also cause a major impact on demand and supply of oil.

With all these facts, it is good that you make an informed decision before investing your money based on forecasts.

How will oil prices and rig count affect the US economy?

In the year 2015, prices of oil were quite low. This impacted the US economy in various ways. Some of these ways included:

  • High rate of unemployment. This was mainly for those workers in the oil industry
  • Increased rate of spending
  • Increased consumption rate and thus economic growth
  • Decline in corporate profitability

2015 was a year when oil prices declined. As we said earlier, prices are determined by two forces namely demand and supply. In the year 2015, demand was low whereas, supply was very high. In order to determine how forces of demand and supply affect prices, a model showing a correlation of oil prices with other financial variables is used.

Using that model, the World Economic Forum was able to know that demand for oil toward the end of 2016 was declining at a high rate. With the same model, the prices in 2017 are likely to be high.

Let’s look at how this increase in prices will affect the economy. Some of the implications include:

  • Employment opportunitiesMost wells have a short production life. This means that there is always another well being drilled in search of oil. All this drilling requires truck drivers, drilling machines and drilling workers among others. Apart from that, whenever there is an activity going on, businesses arise. For example, hotels, hospitals and other social platforms are likely to emerge. All these lead to job growth.
  • Low standards of living

Most people use oil in one way or another. When prices increase, it only means that they spend more on oil and less on buying household items. It is not only households that are affected by the high oil prices, businesses also suffer a great deal. This is because most of their goods are transported or shipped from one place to another by cars or vessels that use oil. This makes production costs very high which, in turn, makes all the prices to hike.

  • Inflation

Increase in prices leads to inflation. Oil prices affect all prices of goods made with crude oil, and it affects the cost of transportation, production and heating. With all the prices hiking, the value of a dollar declines and, thus, one may have a lot of dollars but just manage to buy very few items.

Economic Impact

  • Slow or low economic growth

With oil prices rising, the cost of production also increases. The demand and supply of goods get affected in the long run. For instance, supply of goods will reduce since the cost of production is very high, whereas demand reduces because people prefer to save their money for future days or for more basic things.

Decrease in demand and supply means that the level of consumption is also decreasing and, thus, low economic growth.

  • Recessions

When oil prices increase, people tend to use their money just on basic things. This is because, despite the prices rising, the salaries or wages remain the same yet the cost of living has increased. When fewer people go on vacations or to restaurants for leisure activities, then the economy is no longer growing. A country can, therefore, be said to be undergoing a recession period.

  • Government finances reduce

Since the rate of unemployment is very high, the government is forced to spend a lot of money on unemployment benefits. On top of that, taxes reduce since few people are working and for those working, the salaries are too small to generate enough income in the form of taxes for the government. In the end, the government ends up spending more than it receives, and this may cause the country to take loans from other countries and thus debts increase.

With all these facts in mind, investors need to invest wisely in oil companies, and citizens need to prepare for what is expected to happen in the year 2017. As for employees working in the sea or those drilling wells, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with maritime laws just to be on the safe side in case of any accidents or oil explosions.

For more information on maritime lawyers or the Jones Act, please read more from the Maintenance and Cure Company, and also visit our contact us page today. We care about your problems, and you can be assured of getting the best services from us.

Source

https://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/01/17/ten-reasons-why-high-oil-prices-are-a-problem/

http://marketrealist.com/2017/02/energy-calendar-crude-oil-natural-gas-traders-february-13-17/

http://fueloilnews.com/2016/10/21/forecast-rig-count-to-grow-by-nearly-a-third-in-2017/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-07/oil-prices-rig-count-and-economic-im

Maintenance and Cure: Benefits You Deserve After an Injury

Most workers in the United States are protected by some type of workers’ compensation insurance for injuries that take place on the job. In many states, employers are required to provide such insurance, and opting in is as simple as filling out hiring paperwork. Even if you never need to take advantage of workers’ comp, it’s comforting to know that it’s there to protect you and your family against lost wages and medical expenses.

Benefits You Deserve After an Injury

However, some jobs are categorically more dangerous than others. Construction and transportation careers, for instance, represent a significant portion of workers’ compensation claims filed in any given year due to the inherent risks associated with going to work every day. Wrongful death and employer negligence lawsuits abound, and the red tape involved with getting what you’re owed, can be thick and difficult to navigate without skilled and experienced legal representation.

Some of the most dangerous jobs in the country are done on the water. Thanks to reality TV, many Americans in the last decade have become much better acquainted with the dangers associated with commercial fishing and shipping work in general. A wholly different set of legal protections exists for these workers, many of whom spend every working day dealing with cramped quarters, dangerous and heavy machinery, and inclement weather.

However, as with workers’ comp, some negligent employers will fight tooth and nail to avoid providing rightful compensation to injured seamen. Often, they will attempt to provide the lowest allowable compensation for injury in the hopes that injured seamen will accept the token reimbursement without question. It’s not a perfect world, which is why it’s best to have a lawyer skilled in maritime admiralty law on your side.

To that end, it’s important to understand your rights and guarantees as a maritime worker in the United States. The Jones Act, a federal statute which extends the Federal Employer’s Liability Act to seamen, is designed to protect maritime workers just like workers’ comp does for land-based jobs.

It’s an old and complicated bit of legislation, but it ultimately makes two compensation guarantees to seamen who are injured or fall ill as a result of their work. These guarantees are maintenance and cure.

Who Is Protected Under the Jones Act?

A seaman is any person, from basic crewmember all the way up to ship captain, whose job is carried out to a significant degree on a vessel in navigation. This applies to anyone who works on a ship or boat that is afloat, in operation, capable of moving, and on navigable waters, meaning the ocean and all other connecting waters such as rivers and landlocked lakes where commercial vessels work. The vessel in question need not actually be in motion or active at sea in order for the workers aboard to be considered seamen under the law.

maritime accident lawyer

If you contribute significant work to an active boat or ship which performs its functions on waters capable of being used for interstate or foreign commerce, you qualify as a seaman and thus are guaranteed maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act should you be injured or fall ill on the job.

The ‘significant work’ qualifier is where many disreputable employers seek to avoid providing maintenance and cure benefits. In general, a seaman must spend at least thirty percent of their total employment time working on a vessel or a specific fleet. If you work both on and off ship and are injured on the job, a maritime accident lawyer can help demonstrate to the court that your benefits are deserved even if your employer resists based on your on/off ship work status.

Maintenance: Making Sure You Stay Afloat

At the most basic level, maintenance under the Jones Act refers to the expenses associated with room and board while in recovery from a maritime work related injury. However, it’s not as simple as adding up your monthly costs and billing the company; there are specific rules for what falls under the legal definition of room and board, and they’re important to bear in mind while planning for a prolonged recovery.

Maintenance provisions apply to expenses such as:

•    Rent or mortgage payments, the monthly costs associated with maintaining current residence
•    Basic public utilities such as electricity, water, gas, and trash removal bills
•    Property or neighborhood taxes
•    Food costs

Seems reasonable, but most modern working adults have additional lifestyle expenses on top of these basics which are not considered room and board costs under the law, and thus are not factored into maintenance settlements.

For instance, maintenance benefits which are not considered room and board necessities include:

•    Phone bills of any kind
•    Internet, cable, or any similar entertainment-related costs
•    Car payments
•    Any other non-essential costs of living

As such, it’s important to plan carefully for your convalescence, especially if you have a family for whom you are the primary provider. Even though an internet connection could be argued as a necessary utility for modern life in the United States, it is not covered under the Jones Act. You may not be evicted from your home or apartment thanks to maintenance payments, but you could very easily fall behind on car payments and lose your household’s only mode of transportation.

Cure: Getting You as Well as Possible

Just like workers’ compensation, cure benefits for seamen are aimed to recoup the costs of medical bills associated with work injury recovery. Ideally, an injured seaman should not have to pay any money out of pocket toward their medical treatment for work-related injuries.

Medical expenses considered part of cure benefits include:

•    Hospital and recovery bills
•    Pertinent surgery expenses
•    MRI, CT, and lab testing costs
•    Medical equipment necessary for recovery, such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, or harnesses
•    Transportation expenses to and from the doctor

In a perfect world, employers would always side with their workforce and do their absolute best to make sure cure benefits are provided to the fullest possible extent, but maritime accident attorneys who specialize in Jones Act claims will tell you that this is not always the case.

The goal of maintenance and cure benefits is to allow seamen time to heal, and are to be provided until the injured person reaches the point of maximum medical improvement, or MMI. It’s grim to consider, but sometimes work injuries suffered in the world of commercial fishing and maritime commerce are bad enough that the impact will last a lifetime. As such, even a seaman who has not made a full recovery to perfect health may be considered by doctors to have reached MMI; it essentially means “as well as you’re going to get.”

Obviously, it’s in the company’s best interest for employees to spend as little time as possible receiving maintenance and cure benefits. This is why it’s so important to stand up for your rights and make sure you’re legitimately allowed a full course of recovery.

Get What You Deserve

The Jones Act, also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is old and complicated legislation. As such, it has suffered some growing pains throughout the years as cost of living and worker’s perceived rights have shifted more and more toward modern humane standards and practices.

Jones Act Attorney

For a long time, negligent employers and insurers got away with paying the absolute minimum required under the law, sometimes as little as eight dollars a day, for maintenance of recovering seamen. Anyone who has lived a single day of adult life in the United States will tell you that two hundred forty dollars per month is nowhere near enough to pay rent and eat for a single person, much less anyone with a family to consider. Luckily, the courts have sided with seamen time and again, determining that maintenance refers to the employee’s actual monthly household expenses.

Maritime employers are required to pay for maintenance and cure should any seaman be injured on the job. If you have been injured on ship and are not receiving your due benefits under the law, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Jones Act attorney and pursue the compensation you are guaranteed under the law. Maritime work and commercial fishing are dangerous, necessary jobs from which every American benefits, and there is no reason for injured seamen to suffer unduly or be denied their right to recovery in this day and age.

When an injury occurs aboard a ship, it is common for ship vessel employees to overlook maritime law. Many accidents can occur on cargo ships, cruise ships, merchant marine ships, mobile offshore oil rigs, and the list goes on.

Because these occurrences do not happen on U.S. soil, injured people who work at sea need a maritime expert to help decide the best course of action under the law. With a maritime accident lawyer, your specialized attorney can provide thorough answers to questions like these:

•    Am I considered a seaman under the law?
•    Should I sign the document provided by my employer?
•    Can I obtain compensation?
•    What are my rights?
•    How do I file a claim?

If you or someone you love has been affected by personal injury or wrongful death while working on or near U.S. waterways, maritime attorneys can help you determine if the case is valid under specific statutes of limitations and represent the facts of the incident with even greater precision. Read on to learn more about what considerations one should make when seeking a maritime lawyer after an accident on the water.

Should I Hire a Maritime Lawyer?

Click below to embed this infographic into your website:

Understanding the Finer Points of the Jones Act

Finer Points of the Jones Act
Passed in 1920, the Jones Act is legislation that protects workers who become ill or injured while working offshore. The Act covers anyone who is employed on a sailing vessel that navigates in waters used for foreign or interstate trade. The crewman must be engaged in work that directly impacts the vessel’s mission and may include:

• Fisherman
• Crabbers
• Cruise Ship Personnel
• Entertainers
• Captain and crew
• Workers on oil rigs, cargo carriers, dredges and barges

The Act provides compensation for living expenses while incapacitated, medical expenses, costs associated with rehabilitation and even vocational training if a worker is unable to return to his or her prior position.

Common Complaints Covered Under the Jones Act

Almost any type of injury that can occur on land can also happen offshore. The Maritime Injury Guide lists the most common causes:

• Falling objects
• Slips, trips, falls
• Impact from heavy equipment
• Exposure to toxic chemicals and temperature extremes
• Falling overboard

As a result, common injuries include:

• Traumatic brain injuries
• Injuries to the spinal cord
• Burns
• Scarring
• Lung damage
• Broken bones
• Lacerations
• Crushing injuries

If you’ve been injured or become severely ill at sea due to circumstances beyond your control, contact Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer and Harris to discuss your options.

What Causes Injuries at Sea?

As a worker on a cruise ship, oil rig or other seagoing vessel, many factors can cause you to receive a debilitating injury. These include poor ship maintenance, negligence on the part of the captain or crew, failure to handle food properly, inadequate safety training or standards, operating the ship while severely understaffed and more. Even if you think what happened was out of anyone’s control, you should insist on representation. Odds are good that there’s a solid reason why your injury occurred and an even better chance that your injury or illness is covered under the Jones Act.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Coverage

Is there a statute of limitations on Jones Act claims?

• Yes. The typical time frame for filing a compensation claim under the Jones Act is three years from the date you become injured.

What type of coverage can I request?

• Generally, the Jones Act provides you with a regular income while you recover. It can also pay for pain and suffering, medical expenses, expenses associated with rehabilitation, and even for loss of enjoyment of life. If there’s a delay between the date of your injury and the time that you file your claim, you may be able to ask for retroactive coverage for all of the above.

What’s included in Jones Act maintenance and cure?

• Benefits received for maintenance and cure include the costs associated with recovery until you’re at 100 percent health. Maintenance is typically calculated at a daily rate, while cure refers to the costs of actual medical treatment.

Call for More Information Today

If you’ve been injured during the performance of scheduled duties offshore, contact the law offices of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer and Harris to discuss your recommended course of action. You shouldn’t have to suffer with the stress and worry of how your family will survive while you’re incapacitated, and thanks to the Jones Act of 1920, you don’t have to. Call us today at 1-800-836-5830.

Source

Jones Act


http://www.maritimeinjuryguide.org/maritime-accidents-injuries/other/offshore/

Finding the Right Jones Act Attorney

Sailors who have been injured or become ill while performing required job duties at sea may be eligible for compensation from their employers under the provisions of the Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Maritime Act of 1920. American sailors who believe they may be eligible under the Jones Act should discuss the circumstances of their case with an attorney.

Right Jones Act Attorney

Clients seeking an attorney for their maritime law case should look for experience, specialization, successful past cases, board certification, and cost.

Experience

For the best chance of a successful outcome, maritime workers should seek attorneys who have relevant experience with cases like theirs. The following steps can assist in confirming past experience:

• Ask how many years of experience the attorney has as well as the number of years of experience the firm has. Don’t mistake the firm’s experience for an individual attorney’s expertise; both numbers are important.
• Ask how many maritime law cases the attorney has worked on.
• Visit with references shared by the firm to learn more about the experience and success past clients have had with the firm or the attorney.
• Check the firm’s Better Business Bureau profile to ensure they have been in business and in good standing for the length of time claimed.
• Finding an experienced attorney can increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Specialization

Maritime law is complex and differs from Workers Compensation law. Choosing an attorney who specializes in maritime law ensures that the attorney is trained and experienced in the complexities of maritime law and receives continuing education in this specialized field of law. Maritime law attorneys:

• should clearly advertise themselves as maritime law attorneys,
• should limit the cases they take to maritime law or related cases,
• should never work on behalf of an employer being sued under the Jones Act, and
• should focus their continuing education requirements on maritime law and related topics.

Track Record

Understanding how a firm or attorney has performed in past cases can help a potential client understand what to expect in their case. Maritime employees victim to accident or injury should request more information about past cases, including the attorney’s success rate and the details of at least one successful case and one unsuccessful case if public or permitted to share.

Other ways to learn more about a firm’s track record are to research the company’s history and involvement in high profile cases, review their BBB score, and ask to speak with references.

Cost

It’s important to learn about cost and financial options up front to ensure the right firm is selected. The best firms never charge a fee unless they are able to win a settlement or judgment on the client’s behalf. While not all attorneys use this model, clients should demand and expect this arrangement before selecting an attorney.

Finally, a select few firms may offer additional perks to clients like low or no-interest personal loans to ensure they are able to make ends meet following their injury or illness. Finding an attorney who has a client loan program can reduce worry during such a stressful time.

Is Maritime Law Affected by Location?

An offshore injury can occur anywhere on any body of water in the country. No matter what state that body of water might be located in, those who work out on the water fall not under the jurisdiction of that state’s law but under the jurisdiction of U.S. maritime law.

Because many Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of maritime law, offshore injuries tend to raise an interesting question: Does the location of an accident affect how maritime law is applied? In short, the answer to this question is generally “no.” However, there are some cases where the location may be relevant.

Maritime law

How Location Affects the Cases of Injured Maritime Workers

Maritime law is still somewhat confusing for many, including maritime workers themselves. As a result, some workers who are injured offshore don’t bother to seek compensation due to uncertainty regarding their rights. This makes it somewhat difficult to ensure that injured maritime workers are given the maintenance and cure payments they deserve.

With regard to location, maritime law usually supersedes (or overrides) state law. This means that any worker that suffers an offshore injury will be covered by maritime law standards and will not be subject to state restrictions on compensation. There are, however, a few exceptions.

One exception to this rule is that the injury must have occurred on navigable waters. In addition, any injuries that took place on or near a dock or other fixed platform may be considered to have occurred on “land,” even if the platform was located on navigable waters. If an injury is determined to have happened on land or in non-navigable waters, the case will fall under the jurisdiction of the state.

Find Experienced Representation for Your Maritime Injury Case

If you’re uncertain whether your injury is covered by maritime law or if the body of water on which you were injured is considered “navigable,” you may want to speak with an experienced maritime attorney. Our maritime law practice has been representing offshore injury victims for over 100 years, and our professional attorneys have helped recover over $720 million in compensation.

To learn more or discuss your case for free, give us a call at (888) 297-4553.

Negligence Under the Jones Act

Contemporary seamen often have to work under hazardous conditions that could easily lead to serious personal injury if circumstances on their vessel go even slightly awry. Many seamen sustain severe harm in environments that seem to be reasonably safe. An undetected gas leak that suddenly ignites, a conveyor belt that catches a wayward hand, a hatch negligently left open on the deck in a worker’s walking path—these are just a few simple scenarios that have landed seamen in the hospital.

When disaster strikes, injured seamen have several options when it comes to obtaining just compensation for the physical harm they suffered. What we will focus on here is the Jones Act, an approximately 100-year-old statute that provides seamen with financial recompense in proportion to the negligence of their employer. Who qualifies for the protections of the Jones Act? How are degrees of negligence calculated under its provisions? We’ll answer these and other questions below.

Negligence Under the Jones Act

Causes of Action

The law recognizes three causes of action available to an injured seaman. These are the following:

Maintenance and Cure – This is financial compensation provided to a seaman irrespective of the degree of fault they assume for their injury, provided that the individual has not acted with willful negligence (e.g., intentionally tried to harm themselves). It is part of general maritime law, and it consists of two separate components: (1) maintenance and (2) cure. The first component, maintenance, refers to payments intended to make up for lost wages. The second component, cure, covers the seaman’s medical expenses.

Unseaworthiness – The employer responsible for the vessel on which seamen perform their duties is required by law to ensure that the ship is always seaworthy. A vessel can be ruled to be unseaworthy if it contains defective equipment, unsafe walkways, inadequate (or missing) safety gear, or other features that could lead to harm. The ship may also be considered unseaworthy under the law if its crew members were denied sufficient training.

Jones Act violations – If the employer is found to be in violation of the Jones Act, then the seaman is entitled to financial compensation similar to that provided by maintenance and cure. What’s the difference between the two causes of action? To qualify for compensation under the Jones Act, it must be shown that the employer is responsible for the seaman’s injury or illness. This is the statute that we will explore in more detail later on.

Keep in mind that it’s possible to invoke multiple claims of actions when pursuing a case against an employer. For example, an injured seaman can qualify for compensation under the provisions of maintenance and cure in addition to the Jones Act.

Jones Act violations

Overview of the Jones Act

The Jones Act, otherwise known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in an effort to bolster the U.S. maritime commerce industry. This statute—still very much in force today—consists of a variety of laws governing a wide range of matters pertinent to this industry, but the only part that concerns our present discussion is 46 USC 30104: “Personal injury to or death of seamen.” This section legally endows “a seaman injured in the course of employment… with the right of trial by jury, against the employer.”

Definition of a Seaman According to the Jones Act

The Jones Act grants important rights to seamen who seek compensation for their on-the-job injuries—but who does this statute classify as a seaman? The question isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.

For example, if the employee is an independent contractor rather than a salaried employee, should he or she be considered a seaman who is entitled to Jones Act protections? (Incidentally, judges often rule that this is indeed the case.)

What about someone whose job duties only infrequently bring them on board a vessel? When Jones Act cases go through the courts, it must be determined whether the plaintiff qualifies as a seaman. What the courts tend to look at is the nature of the employee’s role on the vessel (e.g., whether they perform duties essential for the operation of the ship) and the length of their employment.

Negligence and the Jones Act

Negligence and the Jones Act

Now we arrive at the heart of the issue: negligence. The primary distinction between maintenance and cure compensation and Jones Act compensation is that while the former does not depend on proving employer negligence, the latter does.

To prevail in a Jones Act case, the plaintiff must prove four separate elements relating to negligence:

  1. Duty – It must be shown that the employer had a duty of care—e.g., the responsibility to provide reasonable training, properly functioning equipment, and acceptable safety practices. Under general maritime law, the employer has a non-negotiable duty to maintain a seaworthy vessel.
  2. Breach – It must be shown that the employer violated this duty of care.
  3. Causation – It must be shown that the employee’s injury or illness was caused by this breach. In Jones Act cases, this element is governed by the standard of so-called featherweight causation, which means that even slight negligence on the behalf of the defendant is enough to prove liability.
  4. Damages – It must be shown that the employee suffered real harm. An injury that does not require the employee to miss work or seek medical aid would probably fail to meet this standard.

These four elements are common to all negligence cases, not merely those involving the Jones Act.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative Negligence Under the Jones Act

Comparative negligence is the idea that financial compensation for personal injury should be calculated according to the degree of responsibility borne by each party. It is the standard recognized by the Jones Act and used to determine financial compensation in these cases.

Here’s an example. If a plaintiff is ruled to be 40% responsible for their injury, then the amount awarded by the court will be lowered by 40%. Let’s say that their injury is determined to be worth $100,000. The plaintiff will receive only $60,000, as their partial responsibility for their condition is factored into the payout.

In many negligence cases that do not involve the Jones Act, the plaintiff must prove that the other party’s negligence was the primary cause of the illness or injury under consideration. Not so with Jones Act cases. The employer can be found to be negligent even when the seaman is chiefly at fault for their injury.

In fact, the plaintiff can prevail in a Jones Act case even if it is shown that they bear almost all of the responsibility for the incident under consideration. However, in these instances, the court will sharply reduce the monetary award to be granted to the plaintiff.

If the seaman is found to be entirely responsible for their injury, then no compensation will be awarded. Nonetheless, the seaman may still qualify for maintenance and cure payments.

Negligence Per Se

Negligence Per Se

The doctrine of negligence per se constitutes an exception to the standard of comparative negligence. This simply means that the employer will be found entirely responsible for a seaman’s injury if it is found to result from the employer’s violation of a safety statute. It does not matter if the employee may have been partly at fault for the harm they sustained—the employer’s failure to abide by these safety laws supersedes these considerations.

Damages Under the Jones Act

Damages Under the Jones Act

When calculating damages to be awarded to the injured seaman, the courts consider multiple factors, including lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses. The courts weigh not only the losses already incurred by the seaman but, also, if applicable, the projected diminishment of their future earning ability and quality of life.

If you or someone you know suffered significant injury as a result of employer’s violation of the Jones Act, you need to contact experienced legal professionals to analyze your case. You can contact Maintenance and Cure: Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., for a free confidential case evaluation.

 

Union Membership & Maintenance and Cure: What You Should Know

In maritime law, any maritime worker injured or made ill by an accident on the job has the legal right to be compensated, no matter what happened or which party was at fault in the incident. The law that governs this compensation is known as “maintenance and cure.” “Maintenance” refers to the daily needs and living expenses of the maritime worker, while “cure” refers to any hospital bills or other medical expenses related to the injury/illness.

What Is a Union Seaman?

A union seaman is one who is part of a labor organization that aims to support and protect the rights of maritime workers. As such, a union seaman’s work contract may be under the jurisdiction of various union rules regarding how much he or she will receive for maintenance and cure in the case of a workplace accident.

Union seaman

How Union Membership Affects Maintenance and Cure Rates

Because some labor unions set specific maintenance and cure rates based on what they believe is most fair for its members, the pre-determined rate given by the union will always be what is paid, regardless of the circumstances. For example: if the union contract specifies that maritime workers will receive maintenance of $900 each month, an injured union seaman will receive $900 a month.

It is important to note, however, that this is not necessarily the case nationwide. In some areas of the country, your contract may not fall under union rules regarding maintenance. The best way to know for certain where you fall is to discuss your case with an experienced maintenance and cure attorney.

Get What You Deserve with an Experienced Maritime Lawyer

If your employer refuses to pay the maintenance and cure that you are owed as a result of an accident, it’s time to enlist the help of a professional maritime law attorney. In 100 years of representing maritime workers, Maintenance and Cure lawyers have recovered more than $720 million for injured offshore workers.

To discuss your case for free with a knowledgeable maritime lawyer, call us today at 1-800-836-5830.

 

Claims Under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law

The Jones Act provides protections to seamen who are injured while in the service of a vessel and who can prove their employer was negligent. The law also stipulates employers must provide employees with a safe working environment and take steps to ensure the vessel is maintained within reasonably accepted conditions. In fact, negligence under the Jones Act is defined as any act, no matter how slight, which caused or contributed to cause injury to the seaman.

 

What Is Unseaworthiness?

A ship owner owes every crew member employed on its vessel the absolute duty to keep its vessel and all its decks, gear, tools, and equipment in good condition at all times. If the vessel owner does not provide a vessel in good working order, and the vessel or equipment is the cause of an injury to the seaman, then the vessel owner is responsible to the seaman for his/her damages that resulted from that injury.

For example, if the seaman is assigned to do a job and is provided tools or equipment that fail and cause injury to the seaman, the vessel owner is responsible to pay the damages suffered by the seaman. Also, if the seaman is assigned to do a job and is injured because not enough people were assigned to help complete the task, then the owner is responsible for the seaman’s injury and damages.

 

Damages

If a seaman suffers injury due to the negligence of the owner, captain, or crew of a vessel (Jones Act), or because the vessel or its equipment or manning was insufficient to safely complete the job, then a seaman can be compensated for past and future wage loss, medical care, pain, suffering, mental anguish, and any impairment suffered.

For more information about General Maritime Law or the Jones Act, or to find out if you have grounds to file an injury claim against your employer or the ship’s owner, call the maritime law experts at Maintenance and Cure by phoning 1-800-836-5830 now!

FREE confidential case Evaluation
Contact our experienced maritime attorneys to see if you have a case.

 
 
 
 
 

* Please be aware that your submission of this contact form does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Featured In:

Recently
Filed Cases

Recent
Successful Cases
Jones Act Lawyer

tbls

We have board certified personal injury trial lawyers prepared to take on your case. Details

 

bbb

Newsweek Leaders in Maritime
FREE confidential case Evaluation
Contact our experienced maritime attorneys to see if you have a case.

 
 
 
 
 

* Please be aware that your submission of this contact form does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Recently
Filed Cases

Recent
Successful Cases

Blog

The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act

If you are a maritime worker, it is important that you are informed about the Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that covers maritime employees who have sustained work-related injuries. If you have sustained work-related maritime injuries on the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining areas, you may be entitled to compensation.

Posted in General, Jones Act, News

2017 Oil Prices, Rig County & the Economic Impact

How oil prices rise and fall is one of the many ways to determine the rate of economic growth. Oil prices are mainly determined by demand and supply forces in the market. The rate at which a country is producing oil will determine how the prices will be, and thus, the impact on the economy.

Maintenance and Cure: Benefits You Deserve After an Injury

Most workers in the United States are protected by some type of workers’ compensation insurance for injuries that take place on the job. In many states, employers are required to provide such insurance, and opting in is as simple as filling out hiring paperwork.

Should I Hire a Maritime Lawyer?

When an injury occurs aboard a ship, it is common for ship vessel employees to overlook maritime law. Many accidents can occur on cargo ships, cruise ships, merchant marine ships, mobile offshore oil rigs, and the list goes on.

Understanding the Finer Points of the Jones Act

Passed in 1920, the Jones Act is legislation that protects workers who become ill or injured while working offshore. The Act covers anyone who is employed on a sailing vessel that navigates in waters used for foreign or interstate trade.

Posted in General, Jones Act

Finding the Right Jones Act Attorney

Sailors who have been injured or become ill while performing required job duties at sea may be eligible for compensation from their employers under the provisions of the Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Maritime Act of 1920.

Posted in General, Jones Act

Is Maritime Law Affected by Location?

An offshore injury can occur anywhere on any body of water in the country. No matter what state that body of water might be located in, those who work out on the water fall not under the jurisdiction of that state’s law but under the jurisdiction of U.S. maritime law.

Posted in General, Jones Act, News

Negligence Under the Jones Act

Contemporary seamen often have to work under hazardous conditions that could easily lead to serious personal injury if circumstances on their vessel go even slightly awry. Many seamen sustain severe harm in environments that seem to be reasonably safe.

Posted in General, Jones Act

Union Membership & Maintenance and Cure: What You Should Know

In maritime law, any maritime worker injured or made ill by an accident on the job has the legal right to be compensated, no matter what happened or which party was at fault in the incident.

Posted in General, Jones Act, News
Page 2 of 2212345...1020...Last »
Jones Act Lawyer

tbls

We have board certified personal injury trial lawyers prepared to take on your case. Details

 

bbb

Newsweek Leaders in Maritime
FREE confidential case Evaluation
Contact our experienced maritime attorneys to see if you have a case.

 
 
 
 
 

* Please be aware that your submission of this contact form does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Jones Act Lawyer

tbls

We have board certified personal injury trial lawyers prepared to take on your case. Details

 

bbb

Newsweek Leaders in Maritime
Recently
Filed Cases

Blog

The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act

If you are a maritime worker, it is important that you are informed about the Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. The Longshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that covers maritime employees who have sustained work-related injuries. If you have sustained work-related maritime injuries on the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining areas, you may be entitled to compensation.

Posted in General, Jones Act, News

2017 Oil Prices, Rig County & the Economic Impact

How oil prices rise and fall is one of the many ways to determine the rate of economic growth. Oil prices are mainly determined by demand and supply forces in the market. The rate at which a country is producing oil will determine how the prices will be, and thus, the impact on the economy.

Maintenance and Cure: Benefits You Deserve After an Injury

Most workers in the United States are protected by some type of workers’ compensation insurance for injuries that take place on the job. In many states, employers are required to provide such insurance, and opting in is as simple as filling out hiring paperwork.

Should I Hire a Maritime Lawyer?

When an injury occurs aboard a ship, it is common for ship vessel employees to overlook maritime law. Many accidents can occur on cargo ships, cruise ships, merchant marine ships, mobile offshore oil rigs, and the list goes on.

Understanding the Finer Points of the Jones Act

Passed in 1920, the Jones Act is legislation that protects workers who become ill or injured while working offshore. The Act covers anyone who is employed on a sailing vessel that navigates in waters used for foreign or interstate trade.

Posted in General, Jones Act

Finding the Right Jones Act Attorney

Sailors who have been injured or become ill while performing required job duties at sea may be eligible for compensation from their employers under the provisions of the Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Maritime Act of 1920.

Posted in General, Jones Act

Is Maritime Law Affected by Location?

An offshore injury can occur anywhere on any body of water in the country. No matter what state that body of water might be located in, those who work out on the water fall not under the jurisdiction of that state’s law but under the jurisdiction of U.S. maritime law.

Posted in General, Jones Act, News

Negligence Under the Jones Act

Contemporary seamen often have to work under hazardous conditions that could easily lead to serious personal injury if circumstances on their vessel go even slightly awry. Many seamen sustain severe harm in environments that seem to be reasonably safe.

Posted in General, Jones Act

Union Membership & Maintenance and Cure: What You Should Know

In maritime law, any maritime worker injured or made ill by an accident on the job has the legal right to be compensated, no matter what happened or which party was at fault in the incident.

Posted in General, Jones Act, News
Page 2 of 2212345...1020...Last »
Jones Act Lawyer
Twitter Updates
Maritime Injury Lawyers

Speak With A Maritime Lawyer Now
Calls Answered 24/7


Board Certified Attorneys

We are maritime injury attorneys that have recovered millions for our injured clients. We have always been a strong advocate for maritime personal injury victims and the families of those who are killed while working in service of a vessel or under the Jones Act law. Our concern is for the safety of those involved and helping their families find out the whereabouts and conditions of their loved ones.

These are some of the diverse groups of injured workers we have represented:

  • Jones Act seamen
  • Workers on oil rigs, offshore platforms and jack-up rigs
  • Crews and workers on barges, supply boats, tankers, freighters and other vessels

The list is by no means comprehensive. If you are unsure whether you qualify as a Jones Act seamen or whether you might be covered by other maritime regulations, it’s vital that you contact our maritime lawyers today to learn about your rights.

We have represented workers and their families in the following disasters:

  • Deepwater Horizon Disaster
  • M/V Jillian Morrison Explosion
  • Bouchard Transportation Co. Inc. Barge B No. 125 Explosion
  • British Petroleum Texas City Refinery Explosion
  • Phillips 66 Refinery Explosion

The team of Jones Act attorneys and maritime lawyers at SMSH have over 100 years of combined trial experience. Contact our Jones Act lawyers today for a free, confidential case evaluation.

Why Hire the Worldwide Jones Act, Offshore & Maritime Injury Lawyers at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer and Harris?

The Jones Act and maritime injury lawyers at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer and Harris have spent more than five decades representing seamen, longshoremen and other maritime workers, and recovered millions of dollars for our clients. SMSH has always been a strong advocate for maritime personal injury victims and the families of those who are killed while working in service of a vessel. Our concern is for the safety of those involved and helping their families find out the whereabouts and conditions of their loved ones, as well as recovering the compensation they are entitled to for injuries, medical bills and other damages.

Here are some of the reasons why thousands of injured maritime workers have chosen Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer and Harris to represent their interests:

  • We have recovered over $620 million dollars for offshore and maritime workers, including recovery of $17.5 million in the largest Jones Act settlement ever paid by the United States government.
  • Each of our Jones Act attorneys and maritime injury lawyers has more than 25 years of experience, with total of more than 100 years of trial experience for the team.
  • Our maritime injury lawyers have represented clients in some of the nation’s worst maritime and refinery disasters, including: the Deepwater Horizon explosion; the M/V Jillian Morrison explosion; the Bouchard Transportation Co. Inc. Barge B No. 125 explosion; the British Petroleum Texas City Refinery explosion; and the Phillips 66 Refinery explosion.
  • As dedicated maritime injury and Jones Act attorneys, we understand the financial difficulties that families often face when a loved one is injured and unable to work. Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer and Harris offers interest free loans to assist our clients with day-to-day living expenses while waiting for the conclusion of their case.
  • Our attorneys provide assistance to maritime, offshore and port workers across the United States.
  • We have board certified Personal Injury Trial lawyers.
 

The Maritime Attorney Difference

Maritime and offshore accidents fall under a different set of laws than other personal injury or workers’ compensation claims. There are specific maritime laws that govern claims, including the Jones Act, the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and general maritime laws. To receive the full protections these laws offer, it’s crucial to have an attorney who understands the complexities of each. If you’ve been injured while working on a vessel, offshore or in one of the nation’s many ports, contact the Jones Act attorneys at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer and Harris today for a free consultation.
Our experienced offshore injury lawyers have handled cases throughout the Gulf of Mexico coastal region of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, and represented clients from all 50 states of the United States. We have years of experience representing the crew working on inland waters such as the Mississippi River, Ohio River, Kentucky River, the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and many more. We have also handled cases worldwide in countries as far away as the Ukraine and Israel. We routinely represent clients from the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. We have also made claims for clients from Columbia, Venezuela, Bangladesh, The Philippines, Romania, Croatia, England, Ireland, Spain, The Netherlands, Russia, China, Mexico, and Brazil.

Time is of the Essence

If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured or killed as the result of an offshore accident, please speak to a qualified maritime lawyer before talking to your employer or any insurance company or adjuster. If you work on a vessel, boat, barge, tanker, fishing boat, an offshore drilling rig or platform, or any other kind of ship, you may qualify for Jones Act compensation. Working in, on, or near water means you need the specially-trained legal assistance of the Board Certified maritime lawyers of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P.

A few small tidbits of advice for the injured offshore worker:

  1. Fill out an accident report or incident paperwork as soon as possible after your injury.
  2. If your employer gives you any paperwork to sign, have it reviewed by a competent maritime lawyer so you don’t waive your rights to more money.
  3. Do not give a recorded statement to anyone without first seeking legal counsel.
  4. Do not accept the word of a company doctor as to the extent of your injuries, seek out your own doctor for a second-opinion.
We are Worldwide Jones Act attorneys and Maritime lawyers with over 100 years combined experience in Maritime Personal Injury Cases and we have handled thousands of cases. Your initial consultation for your maritime accident case is FREE. You pay us nothing unless we win your case and get you money. Call a maritime lawyer NOW at 1-800-836-5830 or e-mail us at info@smslegal.com.

How can we help?

captcha
* Please be aware that your submission of this contact form does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Recent Successful Cases

$17.5 Million in Jones Act Deckhand Case

 

In March 2008, our client was employed as a deckhand in a shipyard. He suffered a head injury.

Read More


$2.5 Million Recovered in Jones Act Case

 

While on stern of tug attempting to hook up a barge, the “L” line became tight, broke, hit our client,

Read More


$1.6 Million Recovered for Offshore Workers

 

On April 20, 2007, while working as blasters, painting an offshore rig on a platform, our two clients injured

Read More