Jones Act Lawyers in Houston, TX
Serving Clients Across the U.S.
If you are a maritime worker who has been injured on the job due to the negligence of your employer, fellow crew members or a vessel’s owner, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries under the Jones Act. Most maritime workers are not covered by state workers’ compensation laws. Instead, there are federal laws, such as the Jones Act, that protect the rights of seamen and other maritime workers who have been injured on the job.
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, now known as the Jones Act, allows a “seaman” injured on the job to file claims and obtain compensation for the damages resulting from the negligence of a vessel owner, captain or other member of a vessel’s crew, or the unseaworthiness of a vessel. However, only a seaman can recover damages under the Jones Act.
If you are a seaman who has been injured while on the job, contact The Ammons Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our Jones Act attorneys. We’ve been protecting the rights of injured maritime workers across the Gulf Coast and United States for more than 20 years. Call (866) 808-0960.
Do You Qualify as a Seaman Under the Jones Act?
To seek compensation under the Jones Act, an injured worker must be a “seaman.” However, the law does not define what a seaman is. In the years following the passage of the Jones Act, court rulings have established that a seaman is any individual employed on a vessel in navigable waters, who spends at least 30 percent of the time working aboard a vessel, and whose duties aboard the vessel must contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission.
Examples of maritime employees who qualify as seamen under the Jones Act include captains, mates, deckhands, engineers, stewards, fishermen, or sailors who work on crew boats, cruise ships, supply boats, barges, dive boats, and fishing vessels. If you are wondering if you qualify for Jones Act protections as a seaman, it is important to speak with an attorney who can clearly explain your rights and help you determine if you should pursue legal action.
If you work on one of these types of vessels, whether on the ocean, in seaports, or on intracoastal lakes, rivers or canals, you may be protected under the Jones Act:
- Cruise ships
- Tug boats
- Drill ships
- Crew boats
- Riverboat casinos
- Fishing and shrimp boats
The Jones Act also protects the legal rights of offshore oil rig workers. According to maritime law, oil rigs are considered vessels. The Ammons Law Firm LLP has been successfully representing injured seamen in cases involving the Jones Act for more than 20 years, and we would be glad to discuss the details surrounding your injury and determine if your work description meets the definition of being a “seaman.”
Your Right to Compensation Under the Jones Act
Under the Jones Act, seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to compensation for living expenses while the seaman is unable to work due to injuries, while cure refers to medical expenses related to the seaman’s injuries. In addition, the injured seaman may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, past medical bills, future medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent disability, ongoing physical therapy and diminished quality of life.
In order to collect compensation under the Jones Act, an injured seaman must prove that their injuries were caused by negligence on the part of an employer, coworker or ship owner. As Houston Jones Act attorneys, we know the ins and outs of the Jones Act and other maritime laws. We possess the expertise and knowledge to guide you through the process, gather the evidence needed to establish your claim, and negotiate the best compensation possible in your situation.
Maintenance & Cure
Almost all seamen who become ill or injured while at sea qualify for maintenance and cure benefits, regardless of who was responsible for their injuries. Maintenance provides for such things as food and lodging; cure covers the injured worker’s medical costs. Maintenance payments amount to about $35 – $45 day and last until the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement – a state where the injured worker’s condition cannot be improved upon any further or when doctor declares them ready to return to work.
Compensation for Acts of Negligence
When a seaman becomes injured due to the unseaworthiness of a vessel or the negligent acts of an employer or crew member, the Jones Act and general maritime law allows them to file a lawsuit for damages resulting from these injuries.
Some of these damages include:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
Surviving family members of a maritime worker who died as a result of their injuries may file a wrongful death claim. Compensation is limited to only economic damages, such as funeral expenses, household expenses and loss of financial support. Injured workers can still collect maintenance and cure payments while pursuing a claim for negligence.
Due to the complexity of maritime laws like the Jones Act, it’s important not to sign any documents or agree to a settlement before speaking with a qualified attorney. You have rights as a seaman under the Jones Act, and our team at The Ammons Law Firm is dedicated to protecting those rights.
Get Help from a Houston Jones Act Lawyer
Filing a Jones Act claim can be a complex and challenging undertaking. It’s critical to seek assistance from a Houston Jones Act attorney as soon as possible after the injury occurs. The Ammons Law Firm has over 20 years of experience successfully resolving Jones Act cases that have occurred in the Gulf Coast region and throughout the United States.
If you were injured while working on a vessel or oil rig and would like to speak with an attorney about a possible Jones Act Claim, call (866) 808-0960.