The sea is a dangerous place. No one knows that better than the men and women who work every day aboard boats, barges and other vessels. Workplace injuries at sea fall under a different law from most other injuries. Instead of workers’ compensation, maritime law determines how an injured seaman is compensated.
In cases that involve negligence on the part of a ship’s owner, operator or other responsible party, a federal law called the Jones Act sets out what type of compensation – and how much – an injured person is due for an accident while working at sea.
Texas is home to major ports that serve the Gulf of Mexico. The state has many workers who spend significant amounts of time at sea. When these hardworking men and women get hurt, they need strong legal representation to help them get the money they deserve.
If you’ve been injured while working at sea, the dedicated and highly experienced Jones Act attorneys at Ben Bronston & Associates can help you fight for compensation for your losses. If you’ve suffered due to the negligence of the ship’s owner or operator, you deserve justice.
Here’s what you can expect when you work with Ben Bronston & Associates:
Also, we will tell you if for some reason we cannot help you. We will not string you along if we don’t see a viable Jones Act case. We will explain why, and do everything that we are able to do for you.
We are proud to represent clients who have been injured in the waters along the Gulf Coast. Contact us now to see how we can help you. We’ll set up a free consultation to go over your injuries. We work on a contingency fee basis meaning you are not responsible for a dime unless we recover money to help you address the injuries you sustained unjustly.
Seamen, sailors, merchant marines and commercial fisherman have some of the most dangerous jobs in the world. If you work at sea, any mistake by your employer or co-worker can lead to serious injuries, including brain damage, broken bones, burns, spinal injuries and severe lacerations. Some accidents can even lead to death.
The fact that you are at sea may prevent you from immediately seeking medical attention, leading your injuries to worsen.
Congress has passed the Jones Act to protect those who work at sea and are injured by the negligence of the vessel’s owner, operator or other responsible party. The Jones Act allows seamen to bring suit in federal court against the owners of a ship, barge or other vessel they are working on.
The Jones Act defines a covered “seaman” as someone who:
The Jones Act covers both captains and members of the crew. It also applies to a wide variety of vessels, including but not limited to:
Essentially any vessel used for transportation on water falls within the scope of the Jones Act.
An injured seaman may be entitled to compensation for injuries under the Jones Act when:
A common cause of injuries and wrongful death among maritime workers is negligence on the part of a vessel’s owner that leads to it being unseaworthy. The owner of a ship is responsible for maintaining a vessel that is safe to transport goods, crew members, and passengers. Neglecting this duty can lead to unsafe conditions.
Based on the warranty of seaworthiness under general maritime law, a ship’s owner whose negligence leads to injuries can be held liable in a civil lawsuit. This warranty outlines that among the owner’s duties is the responsibility to provide adequate safety measures for workers, and an adequate crew to safely handle the tasks given to them. Under this guideline, many maritime law claims fall under this category, making this one of the most common subjects of maritime lawsuits.
In the dangerous fields of work at sea, there are many ways in which a maritime worker could be injured or even killed while working. Bad weather, dangerous equipment, and hazardous conditions lead to a risky work environment where even a small accident can lead to catastrophic injuries.
Some of the more frequent types of accidents at sea include:
Maritime accidents can be caused in a number of ways and lead to a wide range of injuries, ranging from broken bones to death.
Equipment that is properly maintained and proper training in their use is essential to maintaining a safe workplace. When items such as rigging, machinery, and safety gear are neglected they can easily cause serious accidents.
In addition, providing adequate crew members who have the necessary skills to maintain and safe work place and handle any emergency are key in both preventing accidents and mitigating their consequences.
Although the idea of maritime workers may call to mind fishermen or commercial vessels, there are many other workers who fall under the protection of maritime law. Any worker whose duties bring them in contact with the ocean or ships has the capacity to be injured in their line of work and could have rights under the Jones Act and other laws.
As a dedicated personal injury firm, Ben Bronston & Associates is proud to represent all types of maritime workers, including:
While most workers on the seas fall under the Jones Act, dock workers and other land-based employees are usually protected under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.
There are many ways in which a worker could be injured even while not on board a vessel, leading to financial struggles and stress. General maritime law also covers almost anyone who may be injured in a maritime setting, including passengers. Whether you or a loved one has fallen victim to negligence at sea, it is important to seek out the compensation that you are owed under law. Ben Bronston & Associates stands ready to guide you through this process.
A successful claim under the Jones Act allows an injured seaman to recover compensation that goes beyond the “maintenance and cure” benefits available under general maritime law. No-fault maintenance and cure benefits under maritime law include medical treatment, rehabilitation, and partial lost wages – similar to what’s available from workers’ compensation for land-based workplace injuries.
When the ship’s owner, operator, or other responsible party was at fault for a maritime accident, the Jones Act allows an injured worker to recover additional compensation, such as:
The Jones Act uses comparative negligence, meaning the ship’s owner / operator will only be liable to the extent that the jury finds they are responsible for your injury.
For example, let’s say that your claim is that another seaman improperly left a deckplate hatch open and you fell, severely injuring your back. The ship owner’s insurance company may argue that you are largely at fault for your own injuries, because you should have known about the opening and were being careless.
If the court determines you are 40 percent responsible, you will only be able to collect for 60 percent of your injuries.
Contact Ben Bronston & Associates now for a free, no obligation initial meeting with our firm. We’ll review your case, answer your questions and explain the legal options available to you. You’ll know where you stand, and be ready to move forward to secure your financial future.
We will take the time to investigate the details of your case and find all of the compensation available to you. Then we will fight to get that money into your hands.
Ben Bronston & Associates cares about our clients. We are focused on your health and welfare, and we will be intent on finding money to fully cover your losses after an accident while working at sea.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you. Our consultations are always free, and we won’t charge you a dime unless we obtain a financial recovery for you.