San Antonio Jones Act Attorneys
Suffering injuries in a maritime or offshore oil rig accident can lead to devastating, lifelong consequences. These types of accidents may cause you to experience serious medical problems and suffer from pain that makes it difficult to return to work or make a full recovery.
After a tragedy like this, it is not uncommon for employers and their insurance companies to try and deny responsibility. If you or a family member suffered injuries on the job as a maritime or offshore oil worker, you may receive compensation for your injuries and losses under the Jones Act.
Don’t let your employer or their insurance company attempt to limit the compensation you deserve for your losses. Always speak with an experienced maritime accident lawyer at Wyatt Law Firm who can answer any of your questions and guide you through the often complex and intimidating legal process. Let our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys advocate for your best interest and ensure you recover full and fair financial compensation.
Our San Antonio jones act lawyers regularly represent oil workers in many injury cases, including offshore injuries that fall under the Jones Act.
- $6,100,000 for two oil workers who suffered debilitating injuries in a blowout
- $3,900,000 for another oil worker who had severe injuries from an explosion
Table of Contents
- What Is the Jones Act?
- Who Is Entitled to Receive Compensation Under the Jones Act?
- Workers Compensation vs. The Jones Act: What’s the Difference?
- When to File a Jones Act Claim?
- Jones Act FAQs
- Contact a Jones Act Attorney About Your Case Today
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 or the Jones Act of 1920, is a federal law that protects sailors and crew members who suffer injuries on the job.
This law also outlines several rules regarding the operation of vessels in American Waters. Any seamen, oil, or gas employee who suffers an injury while working is entitled to compensation for injuries and losses. The tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912 prompted the passage of the Act. Congress also enacted it to protect and create domestic and international shipping parameters.
A seamen’s rights under the Jones Act may vary according to the nature of their employment. Bluewater seamen who sleep on the vessel have protections under the Jones Act. They remain protected under the Act even if their injury occurs while traveling to and from work or onshore. The rights of brown water seamen may end under the Jones Act as soon they step off the boat. Seamen who suffered injuries, became sick, or died in a work-related accident had little recourse to hold their employers accountable until the passage of the Act.
Injured seamen and offshore oil workers can file a negligence lawsuit against their employer for work-related injuries. Maritime and offshore oil workers can hold their employers liable for any unsafe working environment or conditions on a vessel, no matter how minor.
The burden of proof under the Jones Act is far lower than it might be in a regular negligence lawsuit. Under the Act, to recover damages for your losses, you will need to prove that your employer’s negligence directly contributed to your injuries and losses.
Remember that your employer looks out for their best interests, which is why you need an experienced San Antonio Jones Act lawyer by your side to protect your rights. Get in touch with one of our attorneys; we’re prepared to fight for the compensation you need and deserve to make a full recovery.
Who Is Entitled to Receive Compensation Under the Jones Act?
The Jones Act applies to maritime workers that qualify as Jones Act seaman. To qualify as a Jones Act seaman, a sailor must spend at least thirty percent of their work time on a vessel or a fleet of vessels. The definition of a Jones Act seamen also extends to workers like cooks and galley hands.
Employees who the Jones Act covers include:
- Oil rig workers
- Employees on tugboats, barges, and other vessels
Those who work as mechanics, shipbuilders, or at a port do not have coverage by the Jones Act but may still recover compensation through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. If you suffered injuries on an understaffed vessel or one that lacked the proper safety devices, you may qualify for compensation under the Jones Act.
Under The Jones Act, an injured seaman can recover compensation for losses, including medical costs, physical therapy expenses, and emotional pain and suffering. Any boat, ship, or rig can be a vessel. Claims for compensation for workers on moving vessels in navigable waters have limitations under federal law.
Workers on a dry-docked vessel or one that ceased operations do not qualify for compensation under The Act. However, you may still recover compensation if your injury occurred on a docked vessel.
An injured worker may claim compensation from a negligent party if the Jones Act protects the vessel they were working on and the nature of their employment. Contact one of our experienced attorneys. If you’re unsure if your case qualifies under the Jones Act, contact one of our experienced maritime accident lawyers today.
We are ready to analyze your case and determine whether the Act applies to your situation.
Workers Compensation vs. The Jones Act: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between worker’s compensation claims and Jones Act claims is that only qualifying seamen, maritime, or offshore oil workers can file Jones Act claims. Both types of claims happen against a negligent employer for losses suffered and damages that resulted from a workplace accident.
In a workers’ compensation claim, the injured party does not need to prove that their employers’ negligent actions were responsible for their injuries. A typical employee will work directly with their employer and insurance provider in a workers’ comp claim.
In a Jones Act claim, you must file a claim against your employer within three years of your injury and prove that their negligence contributed to your injuries to obtain compensation for your losses. If something goes wrong in a worker’s comp claim or if they have a third-party claim, the injured party can decide to sue.
In Jones Act claims, your maritime attorney must file a lawsuit against your employer, the vessel owner, or anyone who contributed to the accident to obtain compensation for your injuries and losses.
Oil rig workers can pursue further damages and disability by filing a claim under the Jones Act. Unlike the compensation you may receive in a workers’ compensation claim, the compensation you can obtain under the Jones Act is similar to a personal injury claim.
In workers’ compensation claims, the injured party will typically only receive compensation for medical expenses or disability costs. Compensation under the Jones Act includes non-economic damages such as compensation for emotional pain, suffering, or distress. Obtaining compensation through a Jones Act claim can be difficult, so you need an experienced maritime accident lawyer to help you through the complex process.
A San Antonio Jones Act lawyer may prove that your employer or another crew member was negligent in causing the accident that led to your injuries by pointing to an unsafe working environment or faulty equipment. Ample evidence will need to come from maritime experts working on your Jones Act claim to give your case the best chance of a successful outcome.
If your injuries resulted from your work duties, you will not need to prove fault and may still obtain compensation for your injuries and losses. No matter how complicated your case may seem, our attorneys are ready to advocate for your rights and fight for the compensation you need to move forward.
When to File a Jones Act Claim?
A Jones Act claim can result from a qualifying maritime employee, seamen, or offshore oil worker suffering injuries or dying while working on a vessel that qualifies under the Jones Act. The claimant must prove that their employer’s negligence was the direct cause of their injury to recover compensation.
Common examples of employer negligence are:
- Fault equipment
- Equipment that is improperly maintained
- Failure to properly train employees
- Decks that are too greasy or oily
A wrongful death claim can happen under the Jones Act if a loved one was in a fatal maritime accident. Other factors may determine whether your type of claim falls under the Death on the High Seas Act. Contact a qualified San Antonio Jones Act lawyer who can determine which laws apply to your case and help you through the claims process.
Compensation Available to Injured Seamen Under the Jones Act
When a sailor, offshore oil worker, seamen, or other qualifying maritime employee gets sick or suffers injuries at work on the sea, they may qualify to collect compensation and benefits for their injuries and losses.
Once the claimant can prove that their employer, the shipowner, or anyone else involved in the accident was negligent and directly responsible for causing their injuries, they may collect compensation for:
- Medical costs
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Lost wages (including future wages)
- Loss of quality of life
- Inability to perform normal job functions
Injured sailors can recover healthcare-related expenses with maintenance and cure benefits after maritime accidents. Obtaining these benefits does not require the injured employee to prove fault.
Payments for maintenance benefits aim to account for an employee’s inability to return to work, and the injured party should receive these benefits until they fully recover and can perform their regular job duties. Along with covering the cost of expenses related to your health, maintenance and cure benefits can also cover the cost of housing, food, utilities, and transportation.
When seamen suffer injuries, they have a right under The Jones Act to sue their employer for negligence or the shipowner if dangerous conditions on the ship led to their injury. Seamen suing under the Jones Act cannot pursue recovery for punitive damages.
Despite this, there is still a wide array of opportunities available to seamen. Working with an experienced San Antonio Jones Act lawyer is the best way to determine the type of compensation you’re entitled to in your case. Our lawyers have an extensive understanding of maritime law and are ready to make sure you’re treated fairly through the entire claims process.
Jones Act FAQs
Is speaking to my employer about my Jones Act claim a good idea?
Refrain from speaking about your case to anyone. Maintaining an amicable relationship with your employer and co-workers is essential, but if you were involved in an accident, you should avoid discussing the details of your injuries.
An investigator has requested a recorded statement. Should I provide them with one?
If your employer or an investigator asks you for a recorded statement, you do not need to provide them with one. Certainly, never do so until you speak with our experienced San Antonio Jones Act lawyers. Give us a call if you need to know the next steps in your claim.
Why do I need to hire a Jones Act lawyer?
Proving negligence in maritime injury cases is complex. While you may believe that your accident case is straightforward, consult an experienced Jones Act attorney who can give you the right advice. An attorney will uphold your rights and fight for compensation for your injuries, including maintenance and cure benefits.
How much is my claim worth?
Determining the value of your Jones Act claim is nearly impossible. Every case is unique and different circumstances will determine the monetary value of your claim. Speaking with an experienced San Antonio Jones Act lawyer is the best way to estimate your claim’s worth.
What is the definition of unseaworthiness?
When you work on a vessel, the owner owes you a duty of case. When dangerous conditions are on the ship or a defective device causes your injury, their failure to maintain safe conditions onboard is considered unseaworthy. Unseaworthiness is another way to prove negligence under general maritime law and can help you recover damages for your injuries and losses.
Contact a Jones Act Attorney About Your Case Today
Our San Antonio Jones Act lawyers understand the difficult and confusing nature of maritime accidents, which is why we’re here to offer our experience and help. Hiring a Jones Act attorney to represent your case and protect your best interests is the best way to receive the maximum compensation in your case.
Don’t suffer covering the cost of injuries caused by another person’s negligence; get in touch with one of our lawyers, who will review your case and determine the next steps. Contact our office today at (210) 340-5550 for your initial consultation with one of our Jones Act lawyers.
Wyatt Law Firm, PLLC
21 Lynn Batts Lane, Suite 10
San Antonio, Texas 78218
Paula and her team at Wyatt Law Firm represented me professionally and fought hard for every dollar to the very end! She takes her cases personal and actually gets to know you, building a great relationship! She put me in touch with world class doctors right here in Texas! I could not be more pleased!!! I would definitely recommend Wyatt Law Firm to anyone in need of an attorney! At the end of the day, they offer caring, stress free, professional, hard working, services to hard working and honest American people! Don’t waste your time elsewhere!!!