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Death On the High Seas Act: What Are Your Rights?

Death On the High Seas Act

When someone dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another, it’s called wrongful death. Their families have the right, under various state laws, to sue the responsible party. The same is true for those who die at sea, only their case comes under the purview of maritime law, specifically, the Death On the High Seas Act (DOHSA).

The Death On the High Seas Act

The Death on the High Seas Act (46 USC 761) has been around since 1920 when Congress decided to make provisions for the families of seamen who had been killed in international waters. Legislators have since expanded and amended the law, but the premise remains the same.

When a commercial maritime worker dies at least three nautical miles from U.S. shorelines, DOSHA permits dependents to recover damages. (A dependent is anyone who relies on the deceased for financial support—a spouse, children, siblings, parents, etc.)

Over the years, the law has come to include commercial aircraft accidents that take place over international waters at least 12 nautical miles from shore.

It’s important to note that DOSHA applies only to workers killed on commercial vessels—it does not cover those who work aboard non-commercial or privately owned ships. It also does not cover maritime injuries, which come under the aegis of the Jones Act.

What the Law Does and Does Not Cover

Under the Death On the High Seas Act, dependents are allowed to recover damages for such things as:

• Loss of financial support
• Funeral expenses
• Counseling expenses
• Other pecuniary (financial) losses

Since DOSHA preempts state law, however, families of victims cannot file claims through traditional wrongful death statutes. Historically, that has prevented dependents from recovering damages related to non-pecuniary losses (e.g., mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of emotional support).

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In addition, a maritime accident attorney must be able to show that the death was the result of another party’s negligence, whether that is the ship’s owner or a fellow worker. Negligence may occur when:

• An employer fails to equip the ship with the necessary safety gear.
• Employers or owners fail to maintain the seaworthiness of the vessel.
• An employer or manager fails to maintain or repair safety gear.
• An employer forces a seaman to work in unhealthy or hazardous conditions.
• A co-worker engages in risky behavior or fails to carry out duties.

The Death On the High Seas Act Statute of Limitations

Like all maritime injury cases, DOSHA comes with a statute of limitations—a deadline of three years. That means family members must file a claim within three years of the accident if they hope to receive compensation.

Given the narrow window of opportunity, it’s crucial for dependents to seek the help of a dedicated maritime law firm immediately after losing a loved one. At Maintenance and Cure, we work hard to secure justice on behalf of our clients. Contact us as soon as possible to speak with a skilled maritime accident attorney.

The International Polar Code

Earlier this year (2017), new polar water regulations were rolled out that will affect the shipping industry and ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters. These waters pose special threats, mainly from ice and icy conditions ship operators need to take into consideration to ensure their vessels are fully compliant with the new code.

The new requirements focus on every aspect of a ship’s operations, stability, structure, and safety, as well as what training the crew has received. The code applies to specific vessels based on their classification as either:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C

Keep in mind, the International Polar Code does not apply to all ships operating in these waters. Expectations are made for ships weighing less than 500 metric tons, fishing ships, and structures that are fixed in place.

Prior to entering Arctic and Antarctic waters, ships that must satisfy the rules and regulations contained within the International Polar Code must be certified. To learn more about the new code and how it could affect your operations, equipment, and crew in polar waters, please continue reviewing the following infographic.

The International Polar Code Infographic

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The Severity of Maritime Piracy Crimes

Pirates—those much-romanticized scourges of centuries past—are still very much with us today, as viewers of the nightly news can attest. The unlawful activities of modern-day pirates on the high seas have achieved notoriety around the globe.

Even so, piracy is still a shadowy subject for most people, and understandably so. Few of us, even in the maritime industry, have first-hand experience with pirates. Piracy is, however, a serious problem that has far-reaching effects on the international stage.

Severity of Maritime Piracy Crimes

A Worldwide Phenomenon

The general public has come to associate modern-day piracy with activities occurring off the coast of Somalia, specifically in the Arabian Sea (particularly the Gulf of Aden) and the Indian Ocean. These goings-on can be traced to the deleterious societal effects of the ongoing Somali Civil War, which have made maritime piracy an attractive alternative to poverty. Piracy in these seas diminished significantly over the last decade or so, but, in early 2017, a burst of renewed pirate activity made it clear that this problem hasn’t gone away quite yet.

Piracy is not limited to this region, however. Nor is Somalia the only nation that harbors pirates. Another hotspot for criminal activity is the South China Sea, where pirates from Malaysia and Indonesia often harass maritime vessels. In addition, the Gulf of Guinea, in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, has seen dozens of incidents in recent years.

How It Happens

Pirates use a variety of tactics to capture and board unsuspecting maritime vessels. Sometimes they use high-speed engines to quickly catch up to vessels, often approaching from a blind spot, before defensive action can be taken. Another tactic is to pose as a friendly vessel in order to gain the trust of the crew on the targeted ship.

Once aboard, pirates frequently seize hostages, demanding a sizable payout for their release. Alternatively, they may simply raid the vessel for its cargo.

The Cost of Piracy

Wherever it occurs, maritime piracy enacts a steep cost. According to the non-profit group Oceans Beyond Piracy, Somali pirates caused $1.7 billion in financial losses in 2016. If that sounds steep, consider that this figure represents a dramatic drop from $7 billion in the year 2010. In West Africa, piracy accounted for nearly $800 million in losses (2016).1

In addition to incurring heavy losses in ransom money and lost goods, the actions of pirates force local governments to devote a substantial amount of resources to counter-piracy measures, such as providing military escorts to cargo ships.

Anti-Piracy Laws

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 is the primary piece of international legislation covering piracy.

In recent years, the U.S. has assumed a more central role in the prosecution of captured pirates, often imposing harsh sentences up to life in prison. Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., has helped a number of piracy victims obtain suitable compensation under the guidelines of the Jones Act. If you have been harmed during the course of a pirate assault, you should contact our office as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Maritime piracy lawyers

Sources

http://oceansbeyondpiracy.org/reports/sop/summary

6 Reasons You Should Be Talking About Oil Rigs

The importance of oil rigs, oil production and oil prices in 2017 can’t be overstated. Oil has a profound effect on the world economy and the American economy. It also affects the lives of people all over the world. Spikes in oil production can spur jobs and convert economies of developing nations into first world economies. On the other hand, production from oil rigs can harm the environment. An overlooked issue, perhaps, is that oil rigs can also be dangerous.

Talking About Oil Rigs

Offshore accidents, of course, are in the news from time to time. The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill demonstrated that. To refresh your memory, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded, with catastrophic results. Almost five million barrels of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven people on the oil drilling crew died. Many others were injured and needed the help of a personal injury attorney or an offshore injury attorney to repair their lives. In addition, the spill destroyed many marine and wildlife habitats and damaged the area’s water, air and beaches.

The possibility of accidents is one reason that people should be talking about oil rigs. Here are six others:

1. The American Economy:

Oil production in the United States has doubled in recent years. When oil production doubles, the number of oil rigs also approximately doubles. A chart in the article “US Oil Rig Count Surges to Highest Since First Week of January” shows an incredible correlation between oil rigs and oil production. When the number of rigs in the U.S. increases, gas prices at U.S. pumps fall. This is great news for Americans who now have more money to spend on other goods and services. This also helps American companies producing those goods and services.

2. The World Economy:

Good news for Americans might be bad news for other nations. The Huffington Post article “Why Oil Stocks Will Be the Best Investment in 2016” reports that excess oil production has harmed the economies of other oil-producing nations. Companies in Algeria, Canada, Iraq, Nigeria, Russia and Saudi Arabia have had to cut their prices because demand is so high. Consequently, their profits have dropped. This has spurred the closure of 65 percent of foreign nations’ oil rigs.

3. The Trump Administration:

Increasing the number of jobs in the United States was a key platform in the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Although many economics experts dispute that building oil pipelines will produce a lot of jobs, President Trump has reversed Obama Administration decisions on two pipelines: The drilling rigs at the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines — the kinds of rigs needed for on-land oil drilling — are now active.

4. The Environment:

Oil rigs are also an ongoing issue because many people believe that oil production harms the environment. Fear about oil’s impact on the environment was a factor in the Obama Administration’s decisions on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Environmentalists were also enraged that the Obama Administration approved opening up areas adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean for offshore oil drilling. The oil platforms — the kinds of rigs needed for offshore oil drilling — have had problems in the past with safety. The BP case was an example of that.

5. Salaries:

Working on an oil rig can be very lucrative. An engineer with no experience — a trainee — can earn $60,000 per year plus an additional $90 per day working on an oil rig. That is what Vice Magazine reports in the article “What It’s Like Working on an Offshore Oil Rig as a Woman.” People who are promoted get raises of $7,500 per year. In addition, directional driller salaries are “ridiculous,” the article reports. What’s “ridiculous”? How about $220,000 per year? In an era of dramatic income inequality — when salaries in numerous professions are way down — people should be talking about the salaries of oil rig workers.

6. Working Conditions:

Why can’t all news about jobs be good news? That’s not the real world. While salaries are good — often great — on an oil rig, working conditions are often difficult. The bad news is that workers can be told to work for more than 24 consecutive hours, according to the Vice article. That’s a formula for accidents. In addition, many people work night shifts. Others work every day for a month. Working like a dog also crimps workers’ personal lives. The bottom line is that turnover at rigs is very high. “They just work you until you’re broken and then you’re done,” said one worker.

Working on an oil rig is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. The risks are numerous. Explosions. Falling. Dangerous machinery. Dangerous chemicals. Isolation. Fatigue. Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P is so concerned about the dangers that it has established the Maintenance and Cure team at its law firm to help people who have suffered because of the risks of oil rig work.

The law firm has local maritime lawyers and offshore lawyers who are experts in maritime law. Our attorneys understand the Jones Act and many other laws that oil companies often violate. Our expertise in maritime law has helped more than a number of oil rig workers. Many workers have won more than $1 million in court cases and settlements.

If you are an oil rig worker who is concerned with conditions at your workplace and/or has been injured because of bad workplace conditions, please phone Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P at 1-800-836-5830. Calling us could be the best investment you ever made.

Source

  • http://fortune.com/2016/08/30/stock-market-worries/
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gobankingrates/why-oil-stocks-will-be-th_b_9532562.html
  • https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/whats-life-like-as-a-young-woman-working-on-an-oil-rig
  • http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-23/us-oil-rig-count-surges-highest-first-week-january
  • http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/10-reasons-why-bp-got-off-and-offshore-oil-drilling-just-got-more-dangerous-20150312
  • http://maintenanceandcure.com/maintenance-and-cure/
  • http://maintenanceandcure.com/oil-rig-explosion-attorneys/
  • http://maintenanceandcure.com/
  • http://maintenanceandcure.com/oil-rig-workers-high-risk-injury/

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?

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Annual Report Shows Drop In Maritime Piracy In 2014

Around the world, maritime piracy dropped to its lowest level in 8 years in 2014, according to an annual report from London-based group the International Maritime Bureau. Despite that decline, however, ship hijackings in Southeast Asia were up significantly.

Pirates attacked 21 ships last year and took 442 crewmembers hostage, the report notes. This increased from 2013, when 12 ships were attacked and 302 crewmembers taken hostage.

In 2014, a total of 245 pirate attacks were reported. This was a 44 percent decline from 2011, the peak of pirate activity off the coast of Somalia, and from 264 in 2013. Of these total attacks, the former piracy hotspot of Somalia has only 11 reported piracy incidents. Southeast Asia had 124 of the attacks.

“The global increase in hijackings is due to a rise in attacks against coastal tankers in Southeast Asia,” International Maritime Bureau Director Pottengal Mukundan said in a statement. “Gangs of armed thieves have attacked small tankers in the region for their cargoes, many looking specifically for marine diesel and gas oil to steal and then sell.”

Many of the piracy attacks were low-legel thefts perpetrated with guns and long knives; however, 4 crewmembers were killed, 13 injured and 9 taken from the vessels they were working on.

Around the world, maritime piracy dropped to its lowest level in 8 years in 2014, according to an annual report from London-based group the International Maritime Bureau. Despite that decline, however, ship hijackings in Southeast Asia were up significantly.

Pirates attacked 21 ships last year and took 442 crewmembers hostage, the report notes. This increased from 2013, when 12 ships were attacked and 302 crewmembers taken hostage.

In 2014, a total of 245 pirate attacks were reported. This was a 44 percent decline from 2011, the peak of pirate activity off the coast of Somalia, and from 264 in 2013. Of these total attacks, the former piracy hotspot of Somalia has only 11 reported piracy incidents. Southeast Asia had 124 of the attacks.

“The global increase in hijackings is due to a rise in attacks against coastal tankers in Southeast Asia,” International Maritime Bureau Director Pottengal Mukundan said in a statement. “Gangs of armed thieves have attacked small tankers in the region for their cargoes, many looking specifically for marine diesel and gas oil to steal and then sell.”

Many of the piracy attacks were low-legel thefts perpetrated with guns and long knives; however, 4 crewmembers were killed, 13 injured and 9 taken from the vessels they were working on.

2 Men Found Dead on Maersk Alabama Suffered Respiratory Failure

Two American security officers, both former Navy SEALs, were found dead in February on the Maersk Alabama, a ship made famous in 2009 after being the target of an attempted maritime piracy hijacking. The cargo ship was docked at the archipelago Seychelles in the Indian Ocean at the time of the men were found.

Autopsy results find that the men, who worked for Virginia-based maritime security firm Trident Group, died of respiratory failure in conjunction with a suspected heart attack, according to police in Seychelles. A police statement said traces of narcotics were found with the officers’ bodies, and forensic analysis would be conducted to determine if the men had consumed something that caused the events.

“The police preliminary investigation report includes suspicion of drug use, as indicated by the presence of a syringe and traces of heroin which were found in the cabin,” according to the statement.

The Maersk Alabama was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009 followed by a five-day standoff that ended when Navy SEALs shot and killed three of the pirates. Some crewmembers were held at gunpoint while others hid in the engine room of the vessel. The pirates held the ship’s captain, Richard Phillips, in a life raft. The hijacking was dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks.

Dennis McElwee, a maritime piracy attorney with Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, represented several crewmembers after the attack in lawsuits against Maersk Line, Ltd., and Mobile, Ala.-based Waterman Steamship Corp.

The ship arrived in Seychelles on Feb. 16 and was expected to leave two days later. The bodies were found by a colleague.

For more information about piracy, please contact SMSH partner and international piracy expert Dennis McElwee.

Repressing Maritime Piracy Within World wide Regulations

Maritime piracy has been around virtually as long as maritime delivery and commerce. Learning a tad regarding the track record of prosecuting pirates and in what ways intercontinental legislation has advanced can help a maritime lawyer when it comes to instances concerning affected individuals associated with this situation criminal offense.

Regarded As Crime Against Business

Before, maritime customs quickly formulated to help grant jurisdiction for any region in order to file suit maritime pirates. It was simply because those that robbed the goods from freighters and also damaged crewmembers and also guests were definitely viewed as foes among all individuals and also invaders associated with business.

Maritime piracy can cause the expense of products transferred by way of sea to rise, equally by means of cutting down the availability of products within the open industry, and through setting off rates to rise.

High Court On The High Seas

Those accused of maritime piracy were generally subject to summary trials onboard naval vessels. The commanders of naval ships for any land were viewed as permitted to perform trials should they or their crews saw or even obtained details about acts of piracy relating to the high seas.

The impact of the extensive leeway that nautical commanders and admiralty courts had regarding getting convictions for maritime piracy was that piracy was efficiently suppressed until very late in the Twentieth century, when pirates grew to be operating off of the coastline of Somalia.

Hot Spot Of Maritime Piracy Off Somalia Coast

At least one valid reason pirates picked waters off the coast of Somalia in order to gain access to goods and also control ships to obtain ransom was that the government in Somalia had been unsuccessful. Clearly there was nobody regarding Somalia to be able to file a claim against acts of piracy. Some other governments were generally not wanting to file a claim against such offences due to its expense along with political significances. Bordering countries were many times unwilling to be considered prosecutors of people who successfully removed dollars or possibly goods from First World countries or even firms.

Maritime Piracy And International Rules

There has been some conversation of trying acts involving piracy committed on the ocean at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. All of the reasons against doing this are generally that it would likely stretch the sources of the court and also sidetrack the legal court from its primary task of trying cases of genocide, war crimes, and other such criminal offenses which are considered severe criminal acts towards mankind. Even though people are frequently harmed plus slain in piratical acts, piracy is regarded as by many to be more of an economic crime than towards human beings.

In 1947, the United Nations set up the United Nations Convention relating to the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This convention gave a selected definition of piracy, that a maritime lawyer needs to be well familiar. Bringing legal charges against piratical activity is deemed inside the jurisdiction from any nation, given that all places are impacted by piracy. UNCLOS sets forth policies regarding prosecuting charged pirates to ensure that their standard individual legal rights will not be violated.

Identifying Maritime Piracy

The concept of maritime piracy with UNCLOS is a lot more detailed compared to earlier definitions under intercontinental regulations. The UNCLOS description involves acts perpetrated onboard aircraft plus seagoing ships.

More to the point for any maritime lawyer, the UNCLOS distinction stipulates that acts need to be perpetrated outside the jurisdiction of any state. If the act transpires inside the territorial waters associated with a region, it really is in the jurisdiction of that particular region. A maritime lawyer should be aware of that some locations are generally not wanting to prosecute piracy under global jurisdiction because they are apprehensive that the charged, if prosecuted successfully, may inquire about asylum for themselves along with their members of the family as soon as they have served their term of prison time.

In case you’ve ever been the target of maritime piracy, seek advice from the experienced maritime lawyers at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris to understand what choices are accessible to you.

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Archive of Category: Maritime Piracy

Death On the High Seas Act: What Are Your Rights?

When someone dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another, it’s called wrongful death. Their families have the right, under various state laws, to sue the responsible party. The same is true for those who die at sea, only their case comes under the purview of maritime law, specifically, the Death On the High Seas Act (DOHSA).

The International Polar Code

Earlier this year (2017), new polar water regulations were rolled out that will affect the shipping industry and ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters. These waters pose special threats, mainly from ice and icy conditions ship operators need to take into consideration to ensure their vessels are fully compliant with the new code.

The Severity of Maritime Piracy Crimes

Pirates—those much-romanticized scourges of centuries past—are still very much with us today, as viewers of the nightly news can attest. The unlawful activities of modern-day pirates on the high seas have achieved notoriety around the globe.

6 Reasons You Should Be Talking About Oil Rigs

The importance of oil rigs, oil production and oil prices in 2017 can’t be overstated. Oil has a profound effect on the world economy and the American economy. It also affects the lives of people all over the world. Spikes in oil production can spur jobs and convert economies of developing nations into first world economies.

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.

Annual Report Shows Drop In Maritime Piracy In 2014

Around the world, maritime piracy dropped to its lowest level in 8 years in 2014, according to an annual report from London-based group the International Maritime Bureau.

2 Men Found Dead on Maersk Alabama Suffered Respiratory Failure

Two American security officers, both former Navy SEALs, were found dead in February on the Maersk Alabama, a ship made famous in 2009 after being the target of an attempted maritime piracy hijacking.

Posted in Maritime Piracy

Repressing Maritime Piracy Within Worldwide Regulations

Maritime piracy has existed nearly as long as maritime transport along with industry. Understanding a bit with regard to the history of prosecuting pirates and in what ways worldwide law has actually progressed can help a maritime lawyer in court cases including casualties connected with this particular crime.

Posted in Maritime Piracy
Page 1 of 3123
Jones Act Lawyer

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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

Archive of Category: Maritime Piracy

Death On the High Seas Act: What Are Your Rights?

When someone dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another, it’s called wrongful death. Their families have the right, under various state laws, to sue the responsible party. The same is true for those who die at sea, only their case comes under the purview of maritime law, specifically, the Death On the High Seas Act (DOHSA).

The International Polar Code

Earlier this year (2017), new polar water regulations were rolled out that will affect the shipping industry and ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters. These waters pose special threats, mainly from ice and icy conditions ship operators need to take into consideration to ensure their vessels are fully compliant with the new code.

The Severity of Maritime Piracy Crimes

Pirates—those much-romanticized scourges of centuries past—are still very much with us today, as viewers of the nightly news can attest. The unlawful activities of modern-day pirates on the high seas have achieved notoriety around the globe.

6 Reasons You Should Be Talking About Oil Rigs

The importance of oil rigs, oil production and oil prices in 2017 can’t be overstated. Oil has a profound effect on the world economy and the American economy. It also affects the lives of people all over the world. Spikes in oil production can spur jobs and convert economies of developing nations into first world economies.

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.

Annual Report Shows Drop In Maritime Piracy In 2014

Around the world, maritime piracy dropped to its lowest level in 8 years in 2014, according to an annual report from London-based group the International Maritime Bureau.

2 Men Found Dead on Maersk Alabama Suffered Respiratory Failure

Two American security officers, both former Navy SEALs, were found dead in February on the Maersk Alabama, a ship made famous in 2009 after being the target of an attempted maritime piracy hijacking.

Posted in Maritime Piracy

Repressing Maritime Piracy Within Worldwide Regulations

Maritime piracy has existed nearly as long as maritime transport along with industry. Understanding a bit with regard to the history of prosecuting pirates and in what ways worldwide law has actually progressed can help a maritime lawyer in court cases including casualties connected with this particular crime.

Posted in Maritime Piracy
Page 1 of 3123
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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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