Maritime Injury Lawyers in Texas
The Jones Act
The Jones Act entitles a seaman to sue an employer for negligence when he or she suffers a personal injury during the course of employment. In order to bring a claim under the Jones Act, a person must qualify as a “seaman”, which, as a rule of thumb, is usually defined as a worker who spends at least 30 percent of his or her time working on a vessel in navigation. Moreover, the seaman must show that an employer’s negligence was a cause, in whole or in part, of the seaman’s injury. This can be established by evidence demonstrating dangerous conditions on the ship, failure to use reasonable care in providing the seamen a safe workplace, failure to inspect the vessel for hazards, or a variety of other employer breaches. Finally, claims under the Jones act must be filed within 3 years of seaman’s injury. If the claim is not filed within 3 years (2 years if the injury occurred aboard a government vessel), then the seaman will be forever barred from recovering damages.
Long Shore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act is a comprehensive workers' compensation scheme meant to protect maritime workers who are injured on the navigable waters of the United States. The Act is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, and provides medical benefits, compensation for lost wages and rehabilitation services to longshoremen, harbor workers and other maritime workers who are injured during the course of employment or suffer from diseases caused or worsened by conditions of employment. The law fills a gap that exists between the Jones Act, which protects seamen, and state workers' compensation, which cover injuries that occur within a particular state, but not usually on navigable water. Workers covered under the Act must meet two guidelines: status and situs.
To satisfy the status test, the injured employee must have been engaged in “maritime” work. This standard is met by employment related to shipbuilding, repair, breaking, loading, or unloading, or other work that is integral to the completion of these activities. Meanwhile, the situs test requires that the injured employee work on, near, or adjacent to navigable water. This is usually satisfied if the injury occurred on navigable waters, a pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway, or an adjoining area customarily used by the employer in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel. If an injured longshore worker meets both status and situs, and is unable to work because of his or her injury, then the injured worker may qualify to receive monthly disability benefits as well as two-thirds of his or her average weekly salary.
Death on the High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act provides benefits to the spouse, children and dependent relatives of a seaman who is killed in international waters due to the negligence of a crew member or the vessel. Common claims involve deaths related to a ship sinking or capsizing, fires or explosions on a vessel, airplane and helicopter crashes, accidents related to malfunctioning equipment, and improper training and safety procedures. The damages available for recovery are strictly economic in nature, such as: damages for financial contribution, damages for loss of nurture to dependent children, damages for loss of household services, and funeral expenses. While DOSHA does not provide for “survival causes of action,” in many cases it is possible to supplement available damages by a recovery under a survival statute for the decedent’s pain and suffering before death. If you are a seaman that has sustained personal injury on the job let our maritime injury lawyers be of assistance. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have experience in fighting for seaman's rights.