Archive for November, 2010

It was recently reported that the USS George Washington, an American war ship, is on its way to the Korean peninsula. The purpose is to carry out military exercises with South Korea that will project a unified appearance between the US and South Korea to hostile North Korea. A Houston Jones Act lawyer with vested interest in supporting Jones Act clients nationally should be anxiously watching this situation, as it affects America’s maritime situation.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said that the exercise has been a long time coming, allowing the US to both show support for South Korea as well as “send a strong signal of deference” to North Korea. The United States wants to eliminate the situation from “getting out of control” and prevent conflict, both between the US and North Korea, and North and South Korea. The interests of a Jones Act lawyer Houston are piqued when maritime law is in question, and the affairs of the United States on the sea could also affect US maritime workers.

The military drills will begin in the Yellow Sea on Sunday. Currently, 50 vessels are ready in the Yellow Sea to join the USS George Washington, and to begin the military drills. Many a Maritime lawyer Houston is anxiously watching the news to be ready for the next step. US officials are claiming that another episode, such as the shelling of Yeonpyeong island, could bring North and South Korea to war – a reality wanted by neither side.

The Yeonpyeong attack occurred when North Korea broke fire on a civilian zone in South Korea. While South Korea officials currently say they are “on alert”, they are being cautious and considering any possible actions before they occur.

Along with many a concerned Houston Jones Act lawyer, China is also carefully watching the situation unfold in the Yellow Sea. Along with a maritime lawyer in Houston, China is hoping that any effort made from both sides of Korea will result in peace on both sides, and calm restraint as opposed to military action and all out war. China has agreed to engage in any talks that will prevent the current hostile situation from turning into a war that could involve China and the United States to some degree.

The US has undertaken precautions to prevent war in the past, including President Bill Clinton’s flight to North Korea that led to an understanding, a peaceful approach, and an ease in tensions between North Korea and the United States. With the United States giving military support to South Korea, our position is made clear – the US will not tolerate violence or any civilian siege in the area of the Yellow Sea. A Houston maritime lawyer and Houston Jones Act lawyer should note that all sides are working to prevent war time conflict in the gulf as much as possible.
All involved parties will keep an eye on the situation to ensure that maritime and peace time relations are not interrupted between North and South Korea.

House of Representatives democrat Charles Rangel is currently facing House censure due to a number of recently discovered rules infractions based on conduct guidelines set forth by the House.

This isn’t Rangel’s first time in the spotlight. He was recently asked to quietly leave the Ways and Means Committee when faced with allegations of violation the congressional “gift ban”. When it comes to law makers who handle important legislation like the Jones Act, and any Jones Act lawyer, the public deserves to know how representatives are acting and handling their positions of power. This comes in addition to their handling and personal view points on the Jones Act and legislation affecting injured workers or a Jones Act lawyer defending those workers.

Rangel, who is 80 years old, asked for mercy due to his long-standing service in the House of Representatives. Rather than face criminal charges or severe legal implications, Rangel was instead censured. Censure in the House is not as severe a matter as expulsion, meaning that a House rep is still allowed to keep his position in the House and vote on matters that could affect maritime workers and a Jones Act lawyer.

Censure is controversial in many circles in the media, around proponents of the Jones Act, and with many a Jones Act lawyer. Because censure implies no criminal investigation or penalty, little is done to the offending representative. More often than not, the censure is more a “mark of disapproval” among other representatives who have various outlooks when it comes to important legislation regarding maritime law and the Jones Act. A Jones Act lawyer knows that censure is often a non-extreme punishment for extreme activities that would land other ordinary citizens in jail.

Other reasons for censure may include improper financial conduct, accepting of gifts (which Rangel was initially accused of), or any other violation of House rules that “bring shame” to the Senate. For anyone interested in Jones Act law such as a Houston Jones Act lawyer or an injured maritime worker, how the conduct of representatives and senators is viewed within the eyes of Congress is a big deal. Ordinary citizens, including maritime laborers, their families, and any Jones Act lawyer wants to know that their best interests are at heart with the representatives who are elected.

Censure is little more than a slap on the wrist. Though it may affect how the representative is seen in the eyes of his or her peers, it leaves little room for the type of justice an ordinary American wants to see. From a Jones Act lawyer to a maritime worker to a maritime attorney Houston, ordinary Americans want to know that the representatives they elect will ensure our government benefits them. Censure may be an unfair practice that doesn’t dole out the deserved punishment to politicians who act inappropriately and take unfair advantage with their positions. Fortunately there are hard working citizens in the legal system such as a Houston Jones Act Lawyer and political experts who are ready to defend the rights of US citizens.

When it comes to investigating the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there are a ton of cooks in the kitchen.

A recent national committee inquiry called for by President Barack Obama investigated whether or not attempts to cut cost on behalf of BP led to the disastrous oil explosion, which killed BP workers and led to ecological damage in the Gulf of Mexico that will sustain for years.

The national committee determined that BP did NOT cut costs in a way that cost workers their lives and disrupted the ecology of this delicate region.

James Herron of the Wall Street Journal points out that Donald Winter of the National Academy of Engineering presents a conflicting view. Winter states that shoddy risk management may be to blame for the oil explosion.

At the end of the day, the Deepwater Horizon disaster has cost BP and the US millions of dollars in clean up, organizing and implementing the national committee, and working with businesses on the coast line of the Gulf who are literally hut down as a result of the oil spill. It’s a blame game, with multiple inquiries being conducted at once by multiple sources and no clear answer.

Herron goes on to discuss that BP is currently involved in over 400 civil lawsuits, as outlined in a third quarter BP report. The investigations and inquiries outlined in this report are literally creeping up into the double digits – not to mention other independent investigations that are happening outside of the government and BP’s control.

With so many inquiries going on, it’s difficult to gauge who is responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The people who are deeply paying the price for the tragedy are the workers injured by the tragedy, and the families of those whose lives were taken as a result.

Cities close to the heart of the disaster’s location are home to the families and workers affected by the disaster. Houston Jones Act lawyers have their hands full working to ensure that injured workers get the compensation they deserve from the tragedy. A maritime attorney Houston might be working several hours a day right now to ensure that affected families are not without the resources necessary to recoup damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

A maritime lawyer Houston, medical staff near the tragedy and current maritime workers are all affected by a tragedy like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Fortunately, Houston Jones Act lawyers understand how the federal Jones Act covers an injured maritime worker, and how the worker and his or her family are protected under the Act. The Jones Act was created to provide guidelines for maritime workers, and in such an event, workers can rely on this legislation to potentially help them with financial and other problems they are facing as the result of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

With so many cooks in the kitchen, Jones Act lawyers Houston may be busy for a long time. Though the Deepwater Horizon tragedy may not be the fault of a singular party, hopefully measures are being taken to ensure such a tragedy will not happen again.

The Gulf of Mexico seems to be a hot bed for disaster over these past few years. First, Hurricane Katrina and subsequent hurricanes such as Ike spread millions of dollars worth of damage and loss of human life from Florida all the way over to Texas. Hurricane Ike was the most expensive hurricane to ever hit the United States, causing around 195 deaths. 112 of those happened in the United States alone.

Just when the Gulf’s residents may have felt they were recovering from some of the extensive damage and loss of life caused by these hurricanes, the 2010 BP Oil Spill hit the Gulf. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill gushed gallon after gallon of oil into the Gulf for approximately three months. The damage to the ecological system, including wildlife, was extensive. Gulf area businesses also suffered a great deal due to the loss of tourism on the Gulf. It’s hard to convince someone to take a vacation on an oil-laden beach, with devastated wildlife and seafood imported from elsewhere.

The Deepwater Horizon spill is the largest accidental petroleum spill in history, killing 11 workers. The Gulf is still being cleaned from the spill. Over 62,000 barrels per day were dumped into the gulf during the initial stages of the spill, and the Deepwater Horizon well wasn’t declared dead until September of 2010.

What does this mean for all involved? For the residents of the Gulf, another period of mourning awaited them. Oil spills have an impact on humans, animals, nature, as well as financial losses that will simply never be recouped.

Between Katrina, Ike, and the Deepwater Horizon spill, Gulf residents have suffered many recent tragedies. Many workers were injured while working during these tragedies, which makes the situation much worse. Fortunately, maritime workers who were injured while working during the Gulf hurricanes or the oil spill are covered under the Jones Act, and can seek the help of an experienced Jones Act attorney.

Maritime attorneys Texas understand the unique challenges to maritime workers presented by natural and man-made disasters, such as the Gulf hurricanes and Deepwater Horizon. A Texas maritime lawyer understands that compensation provided to injured maritime workers is much different than what’s outlines in workers compensations laws, on both a state and national level. The Jones Act is a federal law that covers injured maritime workers and provides room for a possible higher compensation than what you’ll often see as part of ordinary workers comp laws.

Workers injured in natural or man made disasters can rely on a Texas maritime lawyer to understand the unique set of circumstances, both personally and legally, that an injured worker is facing. The Jones Act protects injured maritime workers in ways that many workers and families do not anticipate. A Jones Act attorney can help families understand the Jones Act, what the legislation means for their families, career future and health, and how best to benefit from the often misunderstood legal and financial protection the Jones Act offers.

If you’re familiar with maritime job injuries, you know that the Jones Act covers injury cases that happen when an employee is performing work tasks aboard a ship, floating oil rig, or other maritime vessel. When many injured maritime workers hear that traditional workers compensation laws don’t cover their cases, they are naturally a little nervous. Fortunately for these workers, compensation under the Jones Act is typically much higher.

As maritime lawyers Texas will tell you, many law firms in Texas advance money for Jones Act cases based on the details of the case. A Jones Act settlement is typically much higher not because of the nature of the injury, but because the law is different. Traditional workers compensation claims are awarded anticipating that a worker will return to work when he or she is in a position to do so. Workers comp monies are intended to “float” the injured worker through until he or she can get back on their feet.

Jones Act settlements pay for pain and suffering, lost wages, and can also cover what’s called “loss of enjoyment of life.” If a maritime injury is causing not only physical pain, but stops you from enjoying activities outside of work in a way that is detrimental to your enjoyment of life, a settlement is possible for this as well.

The Jones Act is a federal law, and there are Jones Act attorneys working in different states. Texas and other Gulf Shore workers know from the recent oil rig disaster that calamity can strike at any time when working a maritime job. It’s important for a worker to know their rights whether they are injured or not. Maritime lawyers familiar with the Jones Act can familiarize an injured maritime worker with the law, which what he or she can expect based on their particular situation, and as mentioned before, can provide advances on some cases depending on the state.

A lawyer from your state will understand the individual laws of that state, and the unique needs that you may have based on your geographical location, situation, nature of your injury and even the company you work for. Maritime lawyers Texas are familiar with gulf cases, and have experience working with a variety of clients – some of whom live outside of Texas, but may have been injured on Texas oil rigs or vessels that are permanently on the sea. If you work a maritime job, any injury you sustain on the job will be covered by the Jones Act.

If you need to talk to a maritime lawyer who understands the laws of your state, or the state where you were injured, you should rely on a lawyer with a proven track record of understanding and getting the best settlement possible in Jones Act cases. A maritime lawyer who understands the Jones Act can be a huge benefit to you and your family, preventing head aches and stress during the time when you need it most.

For more information on the Jones Act, contact Ogletree Abbott at

Depression in workers who have been injured on the job is no laughing matter. Once a worker sustains an injury that causes him or her to experience confinement within the home and an inability to return to work, depression often sets in.

Many work places receive no incentive to address an employee’s depression, regardless of the employee’s injury status. As a result, many workers who are injured on the job experience stress, depression, and anxiety which is never acknowledged, addressed by the employer, or treated by a consultant workers comp physicians. Due to their physical limitations and inability to focus on their jobs, depression and anxiety conditions could increase over time. These symptoms may be largely ignored by injured workers, who are determined to either handle the problem themselves, or who have a misunderstanding of depression as a tangible problem that may also exacerbate physical conditions.

Another factor in considering treatment of depression in an injured worker regards the worker’s profession or industry. Injured workers who perform daily in hard labor employment situations may find themselves affected by a work injury in a way that many other workers are not.

For instance, consider the troubled situation of an injured maritime worker. First, the laws governing the injury of a maritime worker are much different than other workers compensation laws. The Jones Act covers the legal implications of maritime work injuries, so an injured maritime worker will need to find Jones Act lawyers to deal with legal issues.

A maritime worker is likely used to heavy labor, and may find that the transition from working long hours each day to living a sedentary life, despite the fact that healing is needed, is a perfect breeding ground for feelings of depression, anxiety, and restlessness. If the injured worker is the breadwinner of the family – particularly in situations where the worker is the family’s sole provider – depression is not only common, but likely.

In situations such as these, a Maritime attorney Texas can discuss compensation for depression and psychological issues that may be due to an injured worker. Maritime workers have special needs and require the expertise of Texas Maritime attorneys. An ordinary workers comp attorney simply will not be able to give the client the legal backing and support needed to generate a positive financial and emotional outcome for the employee and his or her family.

If you or someone you know has been injured at a maritime job, a special understanding of the legislation known as the Jones Act is necessary to generating a successful outcome for the injured worker. Texas Maritime attorneys understand the situation in a way that land locked firms in other areas may not. The unique needs of a maritime worker are best addressed by Texas Maritime attorneys who have experience in the area of maritime law for injured workers. The Jones Act is not a broad topic, and an injured worker needs to seek out an attorney who understands just how specific this area is.

Ogletree Abbott literally wrote the book on the Jones Act. For more information on Texas Maritime attorneys who understand your unique situation, contact