Jones Act

jones1According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, employees that work in the oil and gas extraction industry (including offshore) are 7 times more likely to die on the job than the average worker in the United States. The CDC backs their statement up with data showing that the average fatality rate for U.S. workers is 3.8 deaths for every 100,000 employees as compared to 27.1 per 100,000 employees for those in the oil and gas (on and offshore) industry.

The CDC analyzed fatal injuries in the offshore industry over a 7 year period—from 2003 to 2010—and found that an average of 16 offshore employees are killed on the job yearly. Over the 7 years analyzed by the CDC, 128 offshore fatalities were reported; all but one of which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, making offshore injuries an issue that hits close to home. One additional observation made by the CDC was that all of the offshore employees killed were male.

jones2The oil and gas industry presence in Houston and the Gulf of Mexico is huge—in fact, Houston prides itself on being the energy capital of the world. With the large oil industry as well as the Gulf of Mexico being so close to Houston, offshore injuries become a big concern. The body of law that governs offshore injuries is called maritime law, and it is a difficult area of law that requires special knowledge in order to get the most for your injuries.

Maritime law includes claims brought under the Jones Act, unseaworthiness, general maritime negligence and other maritime claims. Although the other claims are viable claims as well, when it comes to offshore injuries, the Jones Act is often implicated. The Jones Act is implicated often because it governs vessel operators’ and marine employers’ liability for their employee’s work-related injuries. While the Jones Act does allow you to be compensated for your injuries, it is a very complex facet of maritime law.

In order to qualify for compensation under the Jones Act, the employee who was injured must be a “seaman” as defined under the Act. It is remarkably difficult to figure out if a person is a “seaman” under the Jones Act without an experienced maritime lawyer. Also, injured employees generally have to file a claim under the Jones Act within 3 years of being injured in order to be compensable. Finally, while most Jones Act claims are filed in federal court, they can also be filed in state court, making this area of law even more complex.

The experienced maritime law attorneys at the Merman Law Firm have handled many maritime law cases and will help you get the most for your injuries. When to file, which court to file a claim in, and what claims to bring all have a huge impact on your total recovery. Don’t settle for an attorney who lacks the necessary experience to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an offshore accident, contact the maritime lawyers at the Merman Law Firm today for immediate assistance.