Archive for March, 2011

A recent Jones Act case was appealed in the United States Court of Appeals. The case involved Orlando Ramirez and American Pollution Control Corporation (AMPOL). Ramirez and his maritime attorneys filed a Jones Act claim for maintenance and cure against AMPOL after a fall caused him to injure his neck, shoulder, wrist, and elbow. AMPOL made a motion for a summary judgment on the grounds that Ramirez was not entitled to maintenance and cure because of pre-existing conditions he failed to mention on his job application.

The district court ruled in favor of AMPOL for summary judgment. They found Ramirez to be forty percent at fault and awarded him $1800 for lost wages. Ramirez and his maritime attorneys appealed the decision pertaining to his percentage of fault. After careful review, the appellate courts affirmed the district court’s decision. Ramirez had concealed prior injuries and workers’ compensation claims on his application. The appellate courts affirmed that had he been honest on his application, further examination would have been called for by AMPOL. It was also noted that he would have been terminated if AMPOL had found out about the pre-existing condition before the injury happened.

Ramirez’s maritime attorneys had a difficult case with this one. Since Ramirez withheld pertinent information on his employment application, it made his Jones Act claim difficult to prove. While he did receive a small settlement, his maritime attorneys most likely would have succeeded in a larger award, if not for the pre-existing conditions.

Anytime you are filling out a job application, honesty is a priority, especially in the maritime field. The Jones Act is in place to protect maritime workers. However, it is an intricate act best interpreted by experienced maritime attorneys. Ramirez should have been honest on his application. AMPOL would have probably ordered a physician’s release to work. Then, when the injury occurred, his claim would have had a different outcome.

If you are considering a job in the maritime field, be honest on your application. Potential injuries in the future require your honesty. Should you suffer an injury, your maritime attorneys will be able to help you get your just compensation.

 

Working for a cruise line can mean some murky waters when it comes to injuries covered under the Jones Act. For a long while, employees of cruise lines signed an agreement that stated rules pertaining to arbitration of Jones Act claims. The rules stated that injured employees had to arbitrate their claims in foreign countries. Specifically:

  • Royal Caribbean – country of residence or the Bahamas
  • Carnival – Monaco, Panama City, London, or Manila
  • Norwegian – country of residence or the Bahamas
  • Celebrity – country of residence or Miami

A federal court ruled last year that cruise lines did not have the right to force a seaman to file a claim in a foreign country. The court ruled that crewmembers have the right to choose the location of the incident, the cruise line’s headquarters, or any location that the cruise line does business. Rather than being stuck to one or two choices for arbitration, injured parties now have options for help.

Cruise lines had the rules pertaining to arbitration to prevent crewmembers from seeking the help of qualified offshore attorneys. Choosing offshore attorneys that are not educated in the Jones Act often resulted in low award amounts. Since lawyers in foreign countries may not fully understand the Jones Act, many injured crewmembers were not receiving a just award. The court’s ruling levels the playing field. Now, crewmembers can find educated offshore attorneys that will assist them in getting their rightful compensation.

If you or someone you know works for a cruise line, know your rights under the Jones Act and this ruling. Should you suffer an injury, do not get snowballed into believing you must arbitrate in a foreign country. Contact the offshore attorneys you want and have your case arbitrated in the location of your choice. The power of arbitration no longer lays with the cruise lines – it lies with you and your offshore attorneys.

 

Yet another Jones Act claim was recently appealed and upheld. A man employed by the State of Louisiana in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, was injured on a state vessel. The man was a member of the vessel’s crew and he suffered cervical spine injuries while patrolling certain waters. After his injury, knowing he had rights to compensation, the man filed a claim under the Jones Act.

The State of Louisiana filed an exception. They stated that his claim should fall under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Both parties to the case presented prior rulings to uphold their claims. After much deliberation, the appellate court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. They determined that he did have the right to file a claim against the State of Louisiana under the Jones Act and maritime law. They ruled that the State of Louisiana had waived its immunity because of an article in the Louisiana Constitution. The article states that the state and/or state agency is immune from liability when it involves the injury of a person or property.

This particular claim was handled by professional attorneys that knew what they were doing. They understood that filing a claim against a state might prove difficult. They cited cases to back up their motions and the man’s claim can now move forward. Texas Jones Act attorneys approach their cases with the same professionalism. When Texas Jones Act attorneys are retained by clients for a maritime case, they will fight for their client’s rights in court.

If you or someone you know has been injured on the waters, hire qualified Texas Jones Act attorneys to represent you. Since the Jones Act is an intricate law, you need the advice and guidance of professionals. Regardless of whom the claim is against, your Texas Jones Act attorneys will help you every step of the way.

 

The infamous BP oil company involved in last year’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has come into the light once again. Recently, BP voiced their displeasure over the payout rules determined by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. The payout rules are used to determine the amount of each settlement for people hurt by the oil spill. In essence, BP claims that the payout rules are too high, allowing too much money to be claimed. Right now, the rules set the payments to be twice the amount of losses each claimant suffered in 2010, minus any payments already received.

This is one more way that BP is attempting to shirk their responsibility to the people affected by the horrendous oil spill. Those filing claims against BP would be wise to have a qualified maritime attorney on their side. At the very least, they need to consult with a maritime attorney and make sure their claims are properly filed. The people of the coast are entitled to damages – many of their livelihoods have been severely reduced because of the damage from the spill. The spill rests on BP’s shoulders and, therefore, the responsibility to fulfill the claims falls on BP, as well.

If you or someone you know has been affected by the oil spill, whether it was financial damage or a physical injury, make sure you have a maritime attorney helping you with your claim. A qualified maritime attorney who is educated in maritime law and the situation surrounding the oil spill will be able to help you get fair compensation. BP is sure to continue to try to get the settlements lowered. Should any claims, including yours, have to be settled in a courtroom, your maritime attorney will be able to assist you in your case. You are already a victim of BP’s negligence. Do not be a victim of their unwillingness to pay. Contact your maritime attorney today and begin work on your claim.

 

It is fairly common knowledge that the Jones Act provides protection to maritime workers that are injured performing their jobs. What many people do not realize is that the Jones Act provides the same protection to workers exposed to asbestos. People that are affected by asbestos illnesses usually do not experience symptoms for many years. Many people are under the impression that the statute of limitations starts at the exposure to asbestos. Because of this belief, many claims that fall under the Jones Act are not filed.

In asbestos cases, the Jones Act three-year statute of limitations begins when the illness is first diagnosed. This means that former maritime workers that fall ill from asbestos exposure are still protected, even if they have been retired for many years. Only a qualified Jones Act attorney can help determine if there is a claim to be filed. Asbestos exposure is a serious matter with potentially deadly results. If a Jones Act attorney determines that a claim can be filed, action should be taken quickly.

Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer. Maritime workers that were exposed to asbestos years ago can still develop this disease. Current and former maritime workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job and who develop this disease should contact a Jones Act attorney right away. A Jones Act attorney will immediately seek compensation under the protection of the act. The claims must be filed within three years of the diagnosis. Although monetary compensation will not stop the cancer, it can cover medical expenses for treatment and pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos during the course of maritime work, do not waste time contacting a Jones Act attorney. Time is of the essence to you and your loved ones in getting the compensation you deserve.

 

A recent motion to stay a Jones Act claim was denied by courts in California. The claim involved a stewardess on a luxury yacht called the Home Stretch. While in Costa Rica, Hollie Sault was injured when she fell down a flight of stairs. The fall occurred because the stairway was not properly illuminated, making it difficult for her to see where she was going. The twist to this case is that the owners of the yacht were involved in a Ponzi scheme. They were taking money from investors of a medical holding company and using that money for non-medical investments. One of the investments was the Home Stretch yacht.

In efforts to try and avoid Sault filing a Jones Act claim, the owners tried to convince her to sign away her rights before they would allow her to seek treatment. This is not abnormal behavior for wealthy vessel owners. Often, when an employee is injured in foreign waters, they try to find ways to avoid paying any awards. However Sault did not succumb to their pressures and she filed a Jones Act claim against the owners.

Since the owners are being investigated for the Ponzi scheme, a motion was made to stay Sault’s claim. A court denied the motion and her claim has been allowed to proceed. This case could have happened anywhere. The important factor in this case were the attorneys. A Texas Jones Act attorney would have been just as prepared to fight for her claim. Maritime law is tricky and having a qualified Texas Jones Act attorney or other state attorney on your side is essential.

Had Sault went with an unqualified attorney or foreign representation, this case would have taken a different turn. If you have been injured on the water, no matter where you are, contact your Texas Jones Act attorney immediately. Find out your rights to filing a claim. Let the experience of your Texas Jones Act attorney ease your mind as they handle your case and get you compensation for your injuries.

 

Being employed on a sailing vessel often means danger. Vessels are required to be in safe condition to help protect the employees. The Jones Act makes it possible for injured seaman to get financial compensation for any injuries that occurred while working aboard a vessel. Of course, seaman does not mean only men. There are many women in the same field of work and the Jones Act provides them with the same protection.

Ora Lynette Phillips is one such person. Phillips claims that she was injured while employed by Hercules Offshore Drilling Co. In September of 2010, Phillips was working aboard a Hercules vessel and suffered an injury. Phillips and her Texas Jones Act lawyers filed a suit against Hercules for the injuries she sustained and various forms of compensation. The suit alleges that Hercules was negligent and that Phillips was working on an unseaworthy vessel. Lost wages, mental suffering and medical expenses are included in the claim.

The specific details of Phillips injuries are not stated in the claim. However, it can be certain that her Texas Jones Act Lawyers believe she has a strong case. Otherwise, they would not have filed the Jones Act suit. The Jones Act is designed to protect people in the maritime workforce, but it can be complicated and difficult to prove. With reputable Texas Jones Act lawyers representing her in court, Phillips stands a very good chance of reaching a settlement or being awarded a judgment.

It will be interesting to watch this case play out. Depending on the details of her injury, the case could go either way. It does not matter if you are a man or a woman – if you have been injured in the maritime workforce, do not waste time finding the Texas Jones Act lawyers you need. Maritime law is complex and you need a qualified attorney to prove your claim.

 

When dealing with matters pertaining to the Jones Act and other maritime laws, it is essential that you have proper, legal representation. Just as all doctors do not provide the same level of care, every Texas Jones Act lawyer does not practice the law with his or her client’s best interests at heart. Unfortunately, some attorneys practice law in less-than-ideal ways.

Juan Puga knows this from his personal experience. Puga was a pipe welder for Fluid Crane and Construction. He suffered an injury and began receiving workers’ compensation benefits in addition to paid medical care. The Hastings Law Firm solicited Puga while he was still in the hospital. Once he signed the contract, his financial situation changed for the worse. Hastings filed a Jones Act suit against Fluid Crane and Puga’s benefits of over a $1,000 per  week were cancelled.

Puga tried to contact the Texas Jones Act lawyer because he knew the suit was falsely filed. He finally terminated the contract and reached a settlement with Fluid Crane. Hastings now wants a cut of his settlement. Puga recently filed a suit against the Texas Jones Act lawyer. In his suit, Puga alleges that the Hastings Law Firm filed an unjustifiable Jones Act suit against Fluid Crane. He also wants the courts to rule that Hastings is only entitled to attorney fees.

Had Puga signed a contract with a different Texas Jones Act lawyer, the situation might have been different. An experienced Texas Jones Act lawyer would have known that Puga did not need a Jones Act claim. His benefits would not have been cancelled and the headache and hassle would have been avoided. Should you find yourself injured while working on the water, know your rights. Research your Texas Jones Act lawyer before signing any contracts. Without quality legal advice, you could end up in the same “boat” as Juan Puga.

 

An interesting Jones Act lawsuit ruling was recently appealed and upheld. Lavern Bonin, a deckhand for Ryan Marine Services, Inc., filed the lawsuit after suffering a shoulder injury. According to the suit, Bonin and another deckhand were ordered to retrieve a mooring line under dangerous conditions. The line was heavy and stretched tight in the rough waters. There were no guardrails or other safety equipment in place for protection. When trying to retrieve the line, Bonin’s shoulder was injured. Bonin’s Jones Act lawyers succeeded in winning the case for him.

With expertise that comes only from experience, his attorneys were able to prove negligence on the part of the boat’s captain and, ultimately, Ryan Marine Services. After Bonin was awarded damages, Ryan Marine appealed the decision. The United States Court of Appeals upheld the original ruling. They found that the captain of the boat was negligent. He had his deckhands working in unsafe conditions. Instead of being allowed to cut the heavy, tight line, the hands were ordered to retrieve it, resulting in the injury. The appellate courts also determined that the damages awarded to Bonin were fair.

It is no surprise that the ruling was appealed and upheld. The Jones Act lawyers on this case did an impeccable job of providing witness testimony from the second deckhand. The Jones Act lawyers also established Bonin’s credibility pertaining to his own testimony. Since Bonin has 40 years of seaman experience under his belt, it was clear to the courts that he was an expert in his field.

This case is one of many cases that prove the importance of hiring experienced Jones Act lawyers. When dealing with personal injuries on the sea, Jones Act lawyers that know and understand the law are paramount to victory. Lavern Bonin and countless other injured seamen understand the value of retaining only the best Jones Act lawyers for their representation.

 

New Orleans Jones Act lawyers who have litigated countless maritime injury cases are aware of the essential elements that are required to establish a viable claim for compensation benefits. The Jones Act was enacted by Congress to provide a simplified compensation program under the law for seamen who were injured while working aboard a vessel.

U.S. lawmakers recognized that the act of working aboard a ship was an inherently dangerous activity. Prior to the Jones Act, a seaman’s right to compensation was limited and often difficult to achieve under the general principles of maritime law. New Orleans Jones Act lawyers have been helping seamen and maritime workers secure compensation benefits for their injuries since the law was enacted.

New Orleans Jones Act lawyers look for several essential elements when assessing a maritime injury case. In order to be eligible to receive compensation benefits under the Jones Act, an injured employee must prove that he was a seaman on an eligible vessel and that his employer’s negligence caused his injury. However, in some cases that have been litigated by New Orleans Jones Act lawyers, questions have arose regarding who may be considered a “seaman” under the Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Chandris, Inc., v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347 (1995), the “30 percent rule” could be used to determine whether or not a maritime worker’s job duties qualified him for seaman status. The 30 percent rule generally presumes that a “worker who spends less than 30 percent of his time in the service of a vessel should not qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act.” This rule benefits maritime workers by extending the compensation scheme provided by the Jones Act to workers who spend a portion of their time working on-shore as well as at sea.