A maritime injury lawyer in Houston may be the only recourse a ship worker has when they are hurt on the job. Without a state worker compensation program to protect them, seamen can be financially ruined if they are badly hurt, especially if an accident causes them to lose time on the job. Fortunately, seamen who qualify under certain federal statutes have additional legal rights, and these rights can be used to secure compensation for medical costs and other expenses. However, a hurt worker will need to aggressively pursue their right to compensation or they may lose their opportunity to get help.
WHAT CAN A MARITIME INJURY LAWYER IN HOUSTON DO TO PROTECT HURT SEAMEN?
With the Ship Channel right next door, Houston is home to thousands of seamen and ship crew, and these workers often engage in physically demanding tasks. And sometimes, these workers are forced to do their job in dangerous conditions, like inclement weather. Whether a seaman is part of the city’s shipping, petrochemical, oil and gas, or one of a myriad of other sea-focused industries, they have a right to pursue compensation if they are hurt at sea.
An attorney can help a harmed seaman attain this compensation, normally through use of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 – usually referred to as the Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, qualified seamen are given the right to sue their employer for negligence, are entitled to compensation through the principle of maintenance and cure, and have a lighter burden of proof to demonstrate when filing a claim.
The right to sue an employer for negligence is unique, and something that qualified seamen are allowed to do because they are not eligible for state worker compensation programs. This does not mean that a hurt worker will automatically receive compensation if they are hurt, but that worker stands to secure a much higher settlement than would otherwise be possible. A maritime injury lawyer in Houston will take this into account, and pursue a much more valuable settlement. It’s often difficult to predict what a hurt worker’s medical expenditures will be going forward, especially if the accident leaves permanent harm. A larger settlement ensures a victim continues to get the treatment they need.
Qualified seamen are also entitled to maintenance and cure, which refers to compensation for the hurt worker’s rent, bills, and medical costs. This remains in effect until the worker has achieved recovery. And the Jones Act also reduces the burden of proof on the worker, so a maritime injury lawyer based in Houston only has to show that the employer’s negligence was at least partly responsible for the accident, and not necessarily the primary cause.
A seaman faces a long road when hurt, but with the help of an attorney and the Jones Act, it’s a road the worker won’t have to travel alone.