Seaman’s Legal Remedies
Under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30104, workers in the maritime industry who qualify as “seamen” are eligible to recover for personal injuries or illness that they may suffer from due to the fault or negligence of their employer or fellow employee. In order to qualify as a seaman, you must generally spend a substantial amount of your time working on a ship or vessel as a crewmember. The Jones Act allows an injured seaman to sue his or her employer and recover for both physical and non-physical injuries that they have incurred. If you have unfortunately had a family member who was a seaman who died due to the employer’s negligence then you may also be able to seek compensation for your family member’s death under the Jones Act.
Ship-owners can also be held strictly liable under a separate cause of action for unseaworthiness. Ship-owner have a duty to ensure that their ships, crews, and equipment they employ and use are all reasonably fit for duty. If a seaman’s suffers from injury that is caused by a defective condition on an unsafe ship, then recovery under a cause of action for unseaworthiness may be possible. Furthermore, as the ship-owner is strictly liable for these conditions, a seaman does not need to prove fault on the part of the ship-owner.
Individuals who qualify as seamen are also eligible to recover benefits for maintenance and cure if they begin to suffer from an injury or illness while in the service of the ship. This special set of rights and benefits are not tied to you proving that your employer was negligent or any other liability on the part of the ship-owner or employer. Maintenance and cure benefits are unique, in that they must be paid to an injured seaman until a determination by a doctor has been made that the seaman has reached “maximum medical improvement.” The maintenance and cure benefits are paid to the seaman to help compensate the injured seaman for the living and medical expenses incurred while the seaman is recovering from the injury or illness. Importantly, injured seamen are free to choose the medical doctor they want to be treated by, and do not have to use an employer’s recommended or suggested physician.
If you are a seaman working at the Port of Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Galveston or one of Texas’s many other busy ports along the Gulf of Mexico, and you were injured, our team of attorneys can make a prompt and thorough investigation of the incident and the potential injuries, and determine whether legal action needs to be taken. Please feel free to reach one of our Jones Act Attorneys at 1.800.862.1260 or email us to set up a no-obligation consultation to discuss with you the best course of action.
With offices in Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Galveston as well as Corpus Christi & San Antonio we are her to help. Call Carabin Shaw…