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Jones Act Lawyers

The Jones Act is a federal law, formerly known as the Merchant Mariners Act, which governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers for their employee’s work-related injuries. The Jones Act provides remedies to seamen injured while working on a vessel. This law helps courts decide the compensation for seamen’s injuries throughout the United States. An injured seaman can recover damages from their maritime employer when the employer or a co-worker’s negligence causes an injury.
An injured offshore worker must prove some negligence or fault on the part of the vessel’s owners, operators, officers, and/or fellow employees or show defect in the vessel, its gear, tackle, or equipment.
Some examples of sustainable bases for Jones Act cases are:

  1. Failing to provide a safe place to work, if the unsafe place is the vessel or if it is another place under the employer’s control.
  2. An unseaworthiness claim may be pursued if the employer is the owner of the vessel, and the injury is caused by an unsafe condition on the vessel.
  3. A violation of a safety statute causes the injury.
  4. Failing to provide adequate medical care.
  5. Negligence of other employees or individuals for which the employer is responsible, including co-workers.
  6. Failure to rescue or search for a seaman if he jumps or falls overboard
  7. The vessel was not reasonably fit for its intended use, not a safe place to work and live.
  8. The vessel was not equipped with appropriate safety gear and equipment.
  9. The vessel had unsafe recreation facilities
  10. Failure to maintain a competent crew
  11. Dangerous conditions arising during the voyage or created by co-workers

A maritime employer owes a seaman a higher negligence duty than in the usual employer-employee relationship, and the employer if its breach of that duty contributed to the seaman’s injury. Even if the seaman assumed a risk of injury, compensation under the Jones Act is not reduced.

One of the central questions in any maritime injury case is whether the injured party is a seaman, since only a seaman can recover under the Jones Act. These offshore workers have an employment-related connection to a vessel in navigation and contribute to the vessel’s function or mission.

A seaman under the Jones Act must be a member of the crew of a vessel such as a tanker, freighter, jack-up rig, semi-submersible, towboat, tug, supply boat, crew boat, barge, lay barge, or fishing vessel, or someone assigned to a fleet of vessels by his employer. The vessel must also be in navigation, there must be more or less permanent connection with ship, and worker must be aboard naturally and primarily as aid to navigation. Sometimes, even a person whose work is covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act may be treated as a Jones Act seaman. A lawyer can help figure out whether someone is a seaman for purposes of the act. The facts of each particular case must be examined closely by an experienced maritime attorney who will understand the ins and outs of the offshore activity the seaman was engaged at time of injury. View common offshore injuries accidents to see if you have been involved in a Jone Act lawsuit.

A Jones Act claim must generally be brought within three years of the injury. The claim can be filed as an admiralty claim either in federal court or state court, or as a “law” claim in federal court. A lawyer should decide where to file the claim as this choice can affect the amount of the recovery. If you have been injured on a vessel and would like more information about your rights, then contact our experienced International Merchant Mariners Act and Jones Act Attorneys at the maritime law firm of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. by email at info@smslegal.com or by phone at (800) 836-5830.

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Jones Act Lawyer

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Jones Act Lawyers

The Jones Act is a federal law, formerly known as the Merchant Mariners Act, which governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers for their employee’s work-related injuries. The Jones Act provides remedies to seamen injured while working on a vessel. This law helps courts decide the compensation for seamen’s injuries throughout the United States. An injured seaman can recover damages from their maritime employer when the employer or a co-worker’s negligence causes an injury.
An injured offshore worker must prove some negligence or fault on the part of the vessel’s owners, operators, officers, and/or fellow employees or show defect in the vessel, its gear, tackle, or equipment.
Some examples of sustainable bases for Jones Act cases are:

  1. Failing to provide a safe place to work, if the unsafe place is the vessel or if it is another place under the employer’s control.
  2. An unseaworthiness claim may be pursued if the employer is the owner of the vessel, and the injury is caused by an unsafe condition on the vessel.
  3. A violation of a safety statute causes the injury.
  4. Failing to provide adequate medical care.
  5. Negligence of other employees or individuals for which the employer is responsible, including co-workers.
  6. Failure to rescue or search for a seaman if he jumps or falls overboard
  7. The vessel was not reasonably fit for its intended use, not a safe place to work and live.
  8. The vessel was not equipped with appropriate safety gear and equipment.
  9. The vessel had unsafe recreation facilities
  10. Failure to maintain a competent crew
  11. Dangerous conditions arising during the voyage or created by co-workers

A maritime employer owes a seaman a higher negligence duty than in the usual employer-employee relationship, and the employer if its breach of that duty contributed to the seaman’s injury. Even if the seaman assumed a risk of injury, compensation under the Jones Act is not reduced.

One of the central questions in any maritime injury case is whether the injured party is a seaman, since only a seaman can recover under the Jones Act. These offshore workers have an employment-related connection to a vessel in navigation and contribute to the vessel’s function or mission.

A seaman under the Jones Act must be a member of the crew of a vessel such as a tanker, freighter, jack-up rig, semi-submersible, towboat, tug, supply boat, crew boat, barge, lay barge, or fishing vessel, or someone assigned to a fleet of vessels by his employer. The vessel must also be in navigation, there must be more or less permanent connection with ship, and worker must be aboard naturally and primarily as aid to navigation. Sometimes, even a person whose work is covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act may be treated as a Jones Act seaman. A lawyer can help figure out whether someone is a seaman for purposes of the act. The facts of each particular case must be examined closely by an experienced maritime attorney who will understand the ins and outs of the offshore activity the seaman was engaged at time of injury. View common offshore injuries accidents to see if you have been involved in a Jone Act lawsuit.

A Jones Act claim must generally be brought within three years of the injury. The claim can be filed as an admiralty claim either in federal court or state court, or as a “law” claim in federal court. A lawyer should decide where to file the claim as this choice can affect the amount of the recovery. If you have been injured on a vessel and would like more information about your rights, then contact our experienced International Merchant Mariners Act and Jones Act Attorneys at the maritime law firm of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. by email at info@smslegal.com or by phone at (800) 836-5830.

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Maritime Injury Lawyers

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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.

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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.

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$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,

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$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

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