Abbott Clay & Reed

Posts Tagged ‘Jones Act lawyer’

How Many Times Has the Jones Act Been Amended Since Its Creation?

In Jones Act History, Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on July 11, 2009 at 7:35 PM

Since the inception of the Jones Act in 1920 there has been a need for this federal law to be clarified more specifically.  This act does set guidelines for maritime law; however, since the recent advancements in modern day life, there has been a need to reform this law time and time again.

After this bill was passed there was much controversy over how to define seamen and who would be protected by its statutes.  In 1927 Congress tried to clear this controversy up through the passage of the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).  This amendment still left dozens of unanswered questions.  However, it did work to realize sailors were no longer the primary loaders and un-loaders of ships and that dockworkers had taken over this responsibility.  Although this extension now excluded any crew members of vessels so there was still much to decide after this amendment.

This debate would always resurface and lawsuits would arise such as the South Chicago Coal & Dock Co. v. Bassett case which led to Congress passing the declaration of a seaman not being defined if their duties did not pertain to the ships navigation.  This amendment only left more confusion and was begging for another reform.

A court case in 1955, Gianfala v. Texas Co, saw the Supreme Court state the definition of a seaman would be determined by the jury.  The specification of a “seaman” came to include laborers on floating oil drilling platforms and dredges. There was still too much grey area in a very serious matter that was growing with each passing year and the result was an eruption of Jones Act litigation.  This also led to nearly 100,000 Jones Act lawsuits in a ten year period between 1975 and 1985.

In 1995 the Supreme Court would finally make a better conclusion as to the defining of a modern seaman.  But, after a long bout of people demanding a reform for the maritime law, this amendment was still was not enough.

There has been much debate over this matter and until the Supreme Court can clearly define what makes a sailor a sailor there will be controversy surrounding this maritime law.

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How Long Do I Have to File a Jones Act Claim?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on June 24, 2009 at 7:50 AM

When people are injured on the job, it instantly opens up a very large can of legal worms that can sometimes be very difficult to sort through. There can be a lot of conflicting information being thrown your way. People will be telling you about their experiences or what happened to a friend or family member, you will hear things on television and the company you work for will be trying to push forms in front of you to sign. Because of this, it can sometimes make it difficult to know who is telling the truth. However, it is important that you stop the confusion by speaking with an attorney that is aware of the laws governing your situation.

You may end up feeling a little overwhelmed with the legal terminology that is being presented to them by your lawyers and your employers, there is also the insidious nature of some injuries, wherein a small incident can actually cause a chronic and long lasting problem, or one that increases in severity of its own accord over time. When workers who were working on a seagoing vessel are injured in this fashion, one of the questions they sometimes ask themselves is how long they have to file a Jones Act claim. Especially if it has been some time since their initial accident when the injury truly begins to affect their life, this can be something they wonder about. The Jones Act does cover almost all people injured at sea; however, it is a complicated legal area, making this a very natural question.

The statute of limitations on a Jones Act case is actually three years. This means that you have up to three years from the date of your injury to file a Jones Act claim. A Jones Act lawyer can better counsel you on the specifics of how this works, but the message here is that you shouldn’t let your employers pressure you into signing anything or agreeing to anything because they insinuate that time is running out. You have plenty of time to file your Jones Act case, so do not allow that to be used as means to leverage you into signing something that you don’t have to.

What Type of Attorney Should I Seek to File My Claim?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on June 11, 2009 at 6:36 PM

When someone is injured at sea, they have the right to make a claim in order to receive benefits to help them compensate for the cost of their injury. Injuries that happen at sea are handled in a slightly different manner than injuries which happen while working for a regular company on dry land. If you are injured while working on an American vessel, you are in fact covered by the national law, “The Jones Act” which is designed to protect the safety and the livelihoods of American Seamen.

The Jones Act, a federal law which applies to all American vessels, is an incredibly convoluted and complicated portion of the law. It can at times be even considerably more complicated than the laws and claims which are covered under standard workers compensation laws. This is why a regular workers’ comp lawyer is generally not who you want to hire in order to make a Jones Act claim. Instead you should hire a lawyer who specializes in the Jones Act, or in maritime law, as they are going to be better prepared in order to ensure that you receive a fair compensation for your injuries.

Seeking a Jones Act attorney will give you the best chance possible to receive a fair payout for your injury. Payouts under the Jones Act can potentially be much higher than those which are paid under a regular workers compensation claim. However, the convoluted nature of these laws can make it very difficult for you to make a successful claim without the help of a qualified specialist attorney. If you are injured while at sea, please do yourself a favor and immediately seek out the assistance of a Jones Act attorney. It’s preferable if you can find one that can prove their experience with a proven track record of successful claims.

How Does the Jones Act Protect Me?

In Jones Act Law on May 18, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Many individuals support their families with the money that they make working on the rivers, lakes, oceans, and bays within our country. Obviously, a job on any waterway can be a dangerous one. It doesn’t matter if you are a captain, deckhand, fisherman, or cook – a job on a boat has its downfalls. Slippery decks cause several injuries; however, negligence of other crew members is one of the more common causes of injury on the water.

There is a reason for every law and the Jones Act is no different. Had it not been for the courts refusing to recognize the rights of maritime workers and dig further into the cases that they attempted to file against negligent employers, the Jones Act would not exist.

Think about it. How many vessel owners think that they can get “one more trip” out of their boat before they have to make that repair? The Jones Act protects maritime workers from employers like this. It was created in order to allow injured maritime workers the opportunity to file suit against their employer when an injury has been sustained due to negligence on behalf of a crew member, captain, or vessel owner (employer) himself. The Jones Act also enables family members of deceased maritime workers to file suit if it is suspected that negligence was involved in, and ultimately caused, the death of their loved one.

The Jones Act does have some similarities when compared to Workers’ Compensation laws; however, there are very specific differences between the two. For instance, the Jones Act governs maritime workers only. In fact, with the Jones Act, workers are usually entitled to much more than what Workers’ Comp laws would provide to an injured worker. With the Jones Act, maritime workers are able to be compensated for their injury, their time off of work, and their medical bills – even future medical bills that occur due to this single injury. Of course, speaking with an attorney who specializes in this area would be your wisest decision if you are an injured maritime worker.

A place to start – the Jones Act

In FELA, Jones Act Law, Maritime on April 12, 2009 at 2:03 PM

This space will be used to assist those that have been injured while working in harbors and on our Earth’s oceans.  As the senior partner for Ogletree Abbott Law Firm in Houston, Texas I have led the cause in fighting for the rights of injured Maritime Workers across the United States.

I wish to use this blog to pass legal advice to those searching for an answer in their own legal strife but must first “pay the bills”.  Two years ago I published the book “Jones Act & Maritime Law for Injured Workers“.  The completion of this work inspired me to build a website dedicated to helping those hurt in such accidents.  People do not fully understand what the Jones Act entails and I encourage you to read the Wikipedia article that descibes each law that the “Act” commonly refers to.  If you wish to learn more please see shipguide.com for further writings by myself on the subject.