Those who earn their wages offshore experience dangerous conditions that laws were made hundreds of years ago to address. These laws serve as some of the nation’s earliest forms of employee protection and are still followed today, with some revisions.
Specifically, maintenance and cure is a principle that, in the simplest terms, requires a shipowner to pay for living and medical expenses for injured workers. This law assumes that offshore work has so much inherent danger that ship owners and captains should assume responsibility for any injuries. Interestingly, maintenance and cure do not require proof of fault; the injury just must happen aboard a vessel.
Our East Texas maritime lawyers help those who experience accidents and injuries like:
Companies that operate offshore are familiar with the dangerous conditions experienced by their workers every day. In many cases, companies neglect to invest in new safety equipment and ignore regulations to save money. The maritime lawyers at Arnold & Itkin strive to make employers realize that if they cut corners, they will have to pay eventually. It is never acceptable to neglect the safety of others to increase profits. Unless we hold these employers accountable, the culture of safety will degrade and future workers will be injured or killed.
Tyler Oil Rig Accident Attorneys
The oil industry is a driving force behind the Texas economy and a massive source of employment in the state. Arnold & Itkin understands the importance of this work and has made sure to protect oil rig workers when they need it the most. We have earned settlements for workers who need compensation so they may move on with their life after an offshore injury. When the crew of the Deepwater Horizon experienced one of the worst disasters in the history of the oil industry, one-third of the crew depended on us for solutions. We fought for their compensation and did not let the oil company blame them for the horrible event that took 11 lives. We proved that BP failed to perform the necessary maintenance that would have prevented the accident.
Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers in Tyler, TX
Sometimes, offshore injuries occur on vessels that are meant for rest and relaxation. When operators fail to make sure cruise ships are safe for passengers, preventable accidents unfairly change lives. Cruise ship accidents occur when crews aren't properly trained, operators sail ships into unsafe waters, or when ships are poorly maintained. In some instances, gangway and boarding accidents can injure passengers and crew before a voyage begins.
Operators have a duty to make sure their passengers and employees are safe during every step of the voyage. No job should cause serious injuries or death. Likewise, no vacation should turn into something that causes preventable suffering. if you've been in a cruise ship accident, Arnold & Itkin LLP is ready to help. Call our Tyler cruise ship law firm today to find out what your options for recovery are.
Relevant Maritime Laws for Workers & Their Families
There are two laws that are useful for injured workers in the offshore industry: The Jones Act and the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Each law protects workers in different parts of the maritime industry by holding their employers accountable for unsafe work conditions.
Important United States maritime laws include:
While each of these laws are for different situations, they all mean one thing: employers are required to make sure their workers are safe. Injured seaman, longshoreman, and the families of workers killed while offshore can demand answers from the people who should’ve prevented their suffering.
Jones Act Attorneys Fighting for Seamen in Tyler & Beyond
Maritime workers in East Texas have high-risk jobs. Heavy loads, equipment, aging vessels, and the natural risks of offshore work are just a few of the hazards most workers face on a daily basis. One of the riskiest parts of working as a seaman is that they work hundreds of miles offshore—leaving them without immediate medical care if they get hurt. As a result, the harmful effects of a serious accident are even worse at sea. When offshore workers suffer injuries due to negligence, they can file a claim under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act protects any U.S. seaman who suffers an injury or illness due to negligence. The Jones Act was created to ensure injured offshore workers can fully recover from their losses. Each claim generally provides higher dollar amounts than workers’ compensation claims, which usually only cover basic medical care. However, a Jones Act claim requires proof of negligence on the part of the employer, an employee, or the vessel owners.
If you have suffered injuries due to negligence while working offshore, there are laws that protect you. Contact a Tyler, TX Jones Act attorney from Arnold & Itkin today.
Our firm is proud to help clients throughout all of East Texas, including New Ulm, Garwood, Fulshear, Richmond, Oakwood, Bon Wier, Shelbyville, as well as Tyler, Lufkin, Marshall, Nacogdoches, Athens, and more.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920—a federal statute enacted to develop and protect American sea trade. The Jones Act governs maritime commerce transported between US ports. It also regulates maritime commerce and employer practices, specifically with regard to providing crew members with a reasonably safe, well-maintained vessel to work and sleep.
Your rights as a seaman under the Jones Act include:
- The right to a reasonably safe working environment
- The right to make a legal claim if injured due to negligence
- The right to maintenance and cure compensation related to the injury or illness
- The right to additional compensation if the vessel or crew is deemed unseaworthy
- The right to punitive damages if an employer wrongfully refused to pay maintenance and cure
- The right to file a wrongful death claim under the Jones Act if a loved one dies at sea
The Tyler, TX Jones Act lawyers at Arnold & Itkin have won billions for our clients against some of the largest companies in the world. We fought for justice on behalf of the survivors and families from the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the El Faro sinking, and countless other at-sea disasters. If you’ve been injured, our Jones Act attorneys want to discuss your options in a free consultation.
Under the law, Jones Act claimants can claim:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, and disfigurement
- Medical care
- Mental anguish
- Cost of living during recovery
Helping Maritime Workers Recover from Catastrophic Injuries
One of the most important times to make sure you have the right Tyler, TX Jones Act law firm is after a catastrophic injuries. Simply defined, the legal and medical community considers injuries that have lifelong implications for a person as catastrophic. They're often painful, require extensive treatment, and force a change in the quality of the rest of a person's life.
Offshore workers often face considerable dangers during their daily routines. For example, those on oil rigs face constant risk of exposure to toxic substances or from explosions caused by volatile products. Accidents on oil rigs are often serious and have lifelong implications for those they harm. Meanwhile, the companies who could have prevented the accident often fail to do the right thing.
Serious injuries are expensive to treat and live with. Injured seamen deserve compensation to live as comfortably as possible after a maritime accident.
Catastrophic injuries our Tyler serious injury law firm can help with include:
- Brain damage
- Amputated limbs
- Neck and back injuries
- Severe burn injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Spinal cord injury
Claims of Unseaworthiness
Under the Jones Act, the ship owner is required to keep the vessel seaworthy for employees. A vessel owner is not allowed to shift this obligation to anyone else. The factors below can may help support your claim of unseaworthiness against a vessel owner. If you believe an unseaworthy vessel was the cause of your injuries, it is advised to contact an attorney to learn how to proceed.
An offshore vessel can be considered unseaworthy due to the following:
- An inadequate number of crew members or workers
- Lack of fire extinguishers and mandatory fire suppression equipment
- Untrained crew or captain
- Lack of appropriate safety guards or rails
- Lack of sufficient food or unsafe living conditions
- Improperly stowed cargo
- Lack of proper elevators or hoists
Why Should You Hire a Tyler, TX Maritime Attorney?
If you have sustained injuries while working as an offshore worker, it is vital to contact a Jones Act attorney in East Texas as quickly as possible who is experienced with offshore injury claims. At Arnold & Itkin, we understand how overwhelming life becomes after suffering an injury. This is why we pour extensive resources into achieving the best possible results for your case. Our team has recovered over $20 billion for our clients, and we are the leading offshore injury lawyers in the United States.
The Longshoremen & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is responsible for investigating reportable marine casualties and serious marine accidents. Per their research, over 15,000 USCG reported cases were unresolved—suggesting that maritime accidents happen frequently without being investigated or prevented. Accidents occur frequently because longshoremen and harbor workers have to use heavy, complex machinery—increasing the risk of serious injury or contact with harmful chemicals. Thankfully, longshoremen and harbor workers have legal rights if they suffer injuries on the job.
The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal law that grants workers’ compensation benefits to wounded employees who work in areas that involve loading, crafting, and repairing sea vessels. The LHWCA also covers workers who work on navigable waters within the US. The act ensures that specific maritime workers are properly compensated when they suffer work-related injuries.
The LHWCA covers specific offshore and maritime occupations, including:
- Harbor construction workers
- Longshore workers and operators
- Shipbreakers & shipbuilders
- Ship repairmen
If you or a loved one is a qualified “seaman,” protected by the Jones Act or worker’s compensation, the LHWCA will not apply. For an employee to be covered by the LHWCA, he or she must be employed in one of the jobs listed above. A non-traditional employee may be covered under the LHWCA if they are injured on navigable waters.
Entitlements Under the LHWCA After Harbor Worker or Longshore Accidents
Injured workers are entitled to benefits under the LHWCA if the accident occurred where they work, which can include shipyard accidents but also extends to building and repairing areas. If you have suffered serious injuries on the job, you should be compensated for your losses.
Below are employee benefits under the LHWCA:
- Medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Treatment for diseases caused by their work, incl. exposure to harmful chemicals
- Compensation for rehabilitation and/or physical therapy
- Benefits distributed to the families of workers who suffered wrongful death
- 2/3 of normal weekly pay for the duration of recovery
If you've sustained the losses listed above, our Longshoreman lawsuit lawyers can help you recover them. Call us today to learn more about your rights, what your options are, and how we'll fight for your recovery.
Who Is Covered Under LHWCA Extensions?
The LHWCA isn't just for injured harbor workers or longshoremen. The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act also extends its benefits to other types of workers. Employees covered by these extensions are entitled to the same benefits, and their claims are handled in the same way as Longshore Act claims.
Here is a list of LHWCA extensions and their outlined beneficiaries as defined under LHWCA extensions:
- Defense Base Act (DBA): This extension covers a plethora of private workers who are employed on military bases. These workers may include private employees working on US military bases or on any lands outside of America where the US military is residing. This can include contractor employees who are either executing a public contract with an American agency or selling military goods or services to US allies. Covered employees also include maritime operatives who are working under American employers.
- Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA): This extension of the LHWCA covers employees who work on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States in the examination and advancement of natural resources, such as offshore drilling employees.
- Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA): This extension covers employees who work as non-appropriated fund instrumentalities of the Armed Forces—such as military base exchanges and morale, welfare, and recreational facilities.
Our Tyler, TX Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been injured while working as a longshoreman or a harbor worker, you have the right to seek compensation. Filing a claim under the LHWCA demands an attorney who has extensive experience with admiralty and maritime law. At Arnold & Itkin LLP, our firm ranks among the best in the nation for our work helping people recover from maritime-related disasters.
Arnold & Itkin LLP understands this law and all of the specific benefits it entitles you as an injured worker. Our East Texas LHWCA lawyers are among the leading maritime attorneys in the nation, and we have won record-setting verdicts and settlements nationwide. We are here to help you reclaim your future.
Our Tyler, TX Maritime Law Firm Is Ready to Help You: (888) 493-1629
Calling Arnold & Itkin means getting help from a firm that’s known for significant results for offshore workers and their families. After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, over a third of the rig’s crew relied on us to make things right. When the El Faro sank, grieving families trusted us to secure the justice their loved ones deserved. In both instances, we honored our clients by holding the companies who caused their suffering accountable. We know results mean a chance to rebuild. That’s why we fight for them. No matter what.
Call our Tyler maritime law attorneys now at (888) 493-1629 for a free and confidential consultation.