Working offshore can be a demanding and strenuous job, which can unfortunately lead to serious work-related injuries. If you’ve experienced an injury that you received while working on an offshore vessel, it’s important to speak with a Gulfport Jones Act attorney who is familiar with the specifics of maritime law. This is a complex area of the law, and if you don’t obtain the help of a professional who has experience handling these types of cases, you could lose out on significant compensation that is owed to you. If you have questions or need help, contact the maritime attorneys at Haug, Farrar & Franco PLLC today to set up a consultation.
Why Hire Haug, Farrar & Franco
At Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC, we understand how difficult this time can be and are committed to taking the burden off of your shoulders. Here’s why you should hire us:
We don’t wait to get started on your case —we start preparing immediately. This not only allows us to present the strongest case possible but also sends a strong message to the insurance company that we are serious about your claim.
We have extensive experience in personal injury law and have successfully collected millions of dollars in settlements for our clients over the years. We understand what needs to be done to prove negligence and maximize our clients’ potential award amounts.
We are well-versed in settlement negotiations as well as litigation strategies and will do whatever it takes to make sure that your rights are protected and you get what you deserve.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act applies to several different types of workers, including seamen who work on ships and other offshore installations, such as oil rigs, supply boats, and barges. It allows the injured workers to sue their employer for negligence. To be eligible to file a claim under The Jones Act, the worker must be considered a seaman who works on a vessel.
What is a Seaman?
To be considered a seaman under The Jones Act, the worker must perform a significant amount of their work on a vessel and their work must contribute to the overall work of the vessel. To meet this requirement, the individual must work on a vessel at least 30 percent of the time.
What is a Vessel?
The word vessel is typically used to describe any type of boat. Under The Jones Act, certain requirements must be met for the boat to be considered a vessel. For purposes of maritime law, a vessel is defined as any structure designed and used to transport passengers, cargo, or equipment across navigable waters. Common examples include freighters, cruise ships, cargo ships, barges, floating and jack-up oil rigs, ferries, and more.
The Gulfport boat or other structure does not have to be in navigation at all times for a worker to be able to file a claim under The Jones Act. Rather, the vessel must float, be in operation, be capable of moving, and currently be in navigable waters. This means that docked boats can still be considered vessels under The Jones Act. Boats that are drydocked or permanently affixed to the shore are not considered vessels in this context. This differs greatly from recreational boat uses that can sometimes result in injuries requiring a lawyer specializing in boat accidents.
Filing a Claim
When an injured seaman files a claim under The Jones Act, the must prove that their employer was negligent. Employers are required to provide their workers with reasonably safe working conditions they must use ordinary care to ensure that the vessel is always in a reasonably safe condition.
To be successful in a Jones Act claim, the injured worker must prove that their employer failed to meet one of those requirements, and that this failure played a part – however slight – in the worker’s injuries.
A claim under The Jones Act is not a workers’ compensation claim; it is essentially a personal injury claim for seamen.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered Under The Jones Act?
Seamen face a unique set of dangers during their workday. Essentially any injury caused by an employer’s negligence can be filed under the Jones Act. Some of the most common types of injuries that are covered include:
Crush Injuries – Crush injuries occur when a body part is caught between two objects that exert pressure on it until it becomes crushed or mangled. Crush injuries are especially common among seafaring workers due to heavy lifting and unstable surfaces on board ships or boats.
Traumatic Amputations – Traumatic amputations are the result of an injury so severe that a body part must be surgically removed to save a person’s life or prevent further infection or damage to other parts of the body.
Drownings & Burn Injuries – Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among seamen due to dangerous weather conditions such as storms or high waves on open waters. Additionally, burn injuries are also extremely common due to exposure near heated engines on ships and boats.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover?
If you have been injured while working aboard a vessel, you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. The most common types include the following:
If you have been injured on the job and are unable to work, the Jones Act may entitle you to recover lost wages. This includes salaries, commissions, bonuses, overtime pay, vacation pay, and any other type of benefit-based compensation that you would have earned had it not been for your injury or illness.
Lost Earning Capacity
In addition to recovering lost wages, if you are permanently disabled due to an injury sustained while working aboard a vessel, then you may also be able to recover damages for lost earning capacity. This means that if your disability prevents you from performing work tasks at the same level as before your injury, then your employer may be liable for damages related to that difference in earning capacity.
The Jones Act allows injured seamen to recover medical expenses related to their injury or illness. This includes medical bills associated with necessary treatment such as medications, hospital visits, surgeries, physical therapy sessions, etc.
Projected Medical Bills
In addition to recovering current medical, an injured seaman can also seek compensation for projected medical bills resulting from their injury or illness. This is especially true if there is evidence that long-term treatments or care will be necessary for the seaman to recover from their injuries or manage any lingering symptoms they experience as a result of their accident at sea.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages include both physical pain endured because of one’s injuries as well as emotional distress caused by one’s inability to perform normal daily activities as a result of their accident at sea.
How Much Does a Jones Act Injury Attorney Cost?
Most attorneys who handle Jones Act cases charge on a contingency fee basis. Under this fee arrangement, your lawyer will take a certain percentage of any settlement or verdict they win for you as their payment for their services. This percentage usually ranges from 33% to 40%. Typically, if you don’t recover any money, you don’t owe your lawyer anything.
In some cases, a Jones Act injury lawyer may also charge additional fees for out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs, expert witness fees, filing costs, etc., but these should be discussed with your lawyer beforehand so there are no surprises later on.
Hire an Experienced Maritime Lawyer
If you were injured on an offshore vessel or in any other situation that is governed by maritime law, we can help you recover the compensation you deserve. At Haug, Farrar & Franco, our Gulfport attorneys specialize in the Jones Act, and will do the hard legal work for you so you can focus on recovering from your injury with as little stress as possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.