A Texas area offshore injury lawyer works with seamen in several industries, as they all face significant risks every day while on the job. Cramped work conditions, blind spots, unstable footing and unreliable equipment can all increase the chances of an accident, and when someone is hurt at sea, the danger is multiplied. Seamen may be hours away from intensive care at a hospital, which means even a slight medical problem can become something much worse. This is the risk that seamen deal with constantly, so these workers need to be protected when an accident does occur.
The only way a seaman can get this protection, though, is through the Jones Act. State worker compensation programs do not provide a safety net for many maritime workers, including seamen. A hurt worker has to exercise their legal rights, then, to get the care they need.
WHO CAN A TEXAS AREA OFFSHORE INJURY LAWYER HELP?
The Gulf Coast is an extremely active stretch of water for shipping purposes. More than $3 billion’s worth of petroleum products are shipped along the Gulf Coast every year, for example. That takes a strong shipping infrastructure, and that means thousands of crews operating on barges and tows year round.
In general, these crews are protected through the Jones Act, but there are specific requirements a seaman must meet, and they will have to be demonstrated during a claim. These requirements include:
- The seaman must work on a vessel in navigation. A vessel in navigation is one that is afloat, currently in operation, functioning on navigable waters and capable of locomotion. In short, the vessel has to be capable of moving under its own power and equipped for open water. Fixed Oil platforms, casino boats and new vessels that are being tested are not considered vessels in navigation.
- The seaman’s work must contribute to the vessel’s operation. A Texas area offshore injury lawyer can almost always demonstrate this part of qualification, as nearly every crewmember contributes to the mission to some degree. The only notable exception is when the vessel’s owner sends an admin representative to observe operations. Even this, though, is rare.
- The seaman must spend a significant amount of their working time on the vessel. This is normally the most contested element of a worker’s claim, as the seaman will need thorough work logs to support qualification. As long as a seaman spends at least 30 percent of their time on an operating vessel, they will qualify. Also, if a seaman works on several vessels at once, as long as this represents at least 30 percent of their time, they will qualify.
If a seaman passes these requirements, a Texas area offshore injury lawyer will have the power of the Jones Act to fight back against the victim’s employer in an attempt to secure a comprehensive settlement.