Corpus Christi Jones Act Lawyer Serving South Texas
Many individuals engaged in maritime work face the constant risk of serious injury. For these workers and their dependants, the Jones Act provides legal protection in the event that disaster strikes. However, both the Jones Act and maritime law are complex; those seeking compensation for injuries under these legal provisions should therefore consider retaining the services of an attorney with experience in this legal area. At the Law Office of Scott A. Nelson, P.C., in Corpus Christi, our Jones Act lawyer is committed to preserving the rights of South Texas maritime workers. Though Scott Nelson represents individuals in a variety of personal injury matters, his emphasis is on maritime and admiralty law. If you or a loved one has been injured while performing maritime work, contact Corpus Christi Jones Act attorney Scott Nelson. Representing individuals from throughout South Texas, he is committed to helping victims obtain justice.
What Is the Jones Act?
Congress enacted the Jones Act to provide protection to seamen employed as members of a ship or vessel's crew. This protection extends to workers on a variety of vessels, including cargo ships, fishing vessels, shrimp boats, and barges.
Under the Jones Act, employers and vessel owners have an obligation to provide a higher standard of security than is common in most negligence cases. When this obligation is not met, employers and owners can be held liable for any injuries workers may have sustained while in service on the vessel.
In order for a worker to obtain compensation under the Jones Act, he or she must establish that a crew member or vessel owner's negligence was responsible for causing the injury. Protection under the Jones Act also extends to the vessel itself, and workers may be entitled to compensation if a defect, such as broken or inoperable equipment, contributed to an injury.
In most cases, a Jones Act claim must be filed within three years of the injury. An injured worker's maritime claim under the Jones Act can also raise claims against a vessel's owner stating that a dangerous condition existed on the vessel that made it unseaworthy.
If you are employed on a seagoing vessel, contact our Corpus Christi Jones Act lawyer, representing workers from throughout South Texas, to determine if you have legal recourse under maritime law.
Who Is a Seaman?
Under the Jones Act, individuals must have "seaman" status to obtain compensation for injuries they receive while employed as members of the crew of a ship or vessel.
To achieve seaman status:
- The individual must have an employment connection to the vessel that can be substantiated both in terms of duration and nature of the employment.
- The individual's employment must contribute directly to the work of the vessel.
- The vessel on which an individual is employed must be engaged in the service of business and transportation on navigable waters.
Individuals who serve as crew members on board freighters, tankers, cruise and cargo ships, and other vessels commonly present on navigable waters are considered seamen under the Jones Act. While longshoremen, pilots, and individuals employed on fixed platforms are not typically grouped as seamen, they may be entitled to other sources of restitution under the broader category of maritime law.
Maintenance and Cure
Under the Jones Act, if a seaman is injured on a vessel, regardless of any fault attributed to the vessel or its operators, he is owed "maintenance" and "cure." Maintenance provides an incapacitated seaman with compensation for living expenses, including care and lodging.
Cure refers to the responsibility of the seaman's employer to provide medical treatment, prescription drugs, nursing care, and other applicable medical services required until the seaman reaches maximum recovery, or that point beyond which an individual is not likely to improve. A seaman may choose his own physicians and method of treatment, but the obligation of the vessel's owner to pay maintenance and cure ceases when maximum recovery is reached, regardless of whether or not the seaman can resume work.
Damages Covered under the Jones Act
Maritime workers perform a valuable service to their communities and the nation. Often, the work they do is performed in difficult and dangerous conditions, and injuries are an all too common consequence of their service. When a worker suffers an injury, the Jones Act under maritime law may offer legal recourse for the individual to obtain compensation for losses related to the injury, including:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Medical expenses
- Cost of future care
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical disfigurement.
In the event of a seaman's wrongful death, surviving family members are entitled to compensation for any losses they are expected to incur as a result. Corpus Christi Jones Act attorney Scott Nelson can help South Texas victims and their families better understand the subtleties associated with this area of maritime law.
Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) was passed in the 1920s as a means for widows and other financially dependent relatives to obtain compensation for the deaths of seamen that occur as a result of an employer's or coworker's negligence or due to an unseaworthy vessel. For the family of the deceased to obtain monetary reparation under the DOHSA, the seaman's death must occur at least three nautical miles from the shore of any U.S. state (including the District of Columbia), territory, or dependency.
Typically, damages claimed under the DOHSA are equivalent to the financial losses a family is expected to incur as a result of the seaman's death. The DOHSA does not provide for non-economic damages such as loss of consortium or companionship.
Any claim under this act must be filed within three years from the date of the seaman's death.
The DOHSA is a complex area of maritime law, and Corpus Christi maritime and Jones Act attorney Scott Nelson can provide South Texas residents with a more complete explanation of the provisions of this act.
Contact Corpus Christi Jones Act Attorney Scott Nelson in South Texas
The laws governing maritime work are complex, and an experienced attorney can greatly improve one's chances for a successful claim. Corpus Christi Jones Act lawyer Scott Nelson is committed to preserving the rights of South Texas maritime workers. If you or a loved one has been injured while in the service of a seagoing vessel, contact the Law Office of Scott A. Nelson, P.C., to schedule a complimentary consultation.