Jones Act Lawyer Showed Injured Employee’s Expected Return To Sea
Seamen may sometimes balance their intense, long periods at sea, with helping make repairs to their vessel in a shipyard. It’s important to meet with a Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible when injured in these repair periods, to help obtain evidence to clarify whether working on land was still part of regular seaman’s duty. In the following case, the employer tried (unsuccessfully) to counter a Jones Act lawyer’s successful defense of a seaman’s Jones Act award, for just such an on-shore injury.
Bill Drury’s Jones Act lawyer explained how Drury was hurt, carrying two batteries from a large truck to his dredge (in drydock). The batteries were later shown by the Jones Act lawyer to weigh around 45 pounds apiece. Drury had to carry the batteries from the yard and then across two gangways. The first gangway went from the yard to a repair barge, and the second gangway extended from the repair barge to his vessel, as shown by yard diagrams from the Jones Act lawyer. Drury later answered his Jones Act lawyer, saying the step down from the second gangway to the dredge was “a long step down…between a foot and a foot and a half.” The Jones Act lawyer showed how Drury injured his back, stepping from the gangway onto the dredge. Drury completed his shift and reported the injury to the Captain the following day, the Jones Act lawyer showed.
A jury argued the Jones Act lawyer had shown Drury was a seaman acting in the course of his job when he was hurt. The jury also found that the negligence of the vessel owner was a legal cause (70%) of Drury’s injury. Based on the Jones Act lawyer’s evidence, the trial court calculated that Drury was owed $1,109,500.00 in damages and $87,000.00 in cure.
The vessel owner appealed only the Jones Act lawyer’s evidence that Drury was a seaman. But the Jones Act lawyer had proven to the judge and jury at trial, that “(I)n deciding the connection of a worker to a vessel in navigation, you don’t use a ‘snapshot’ test for seaman status, inspecting only the situation as it exists at the very instant of injury.”
Duties Of Seaman In Case Included “Nine To Twelve” Months Of Work On Sea, Jones Act Lawyer Proved
The evidence from the Jones Act lawyer also showed that Drury was hired to work as a mate on the dredge. The Jones Act lawyer detailed how Drury worked off-shore, still as a Ship’s mate. Drury ate and slept on the dredge while it was at the yard, the Jones Act lawyer proved. The Captain had also testified, in answer to the Jones Act lawyer, that he “would never” assign Drury to do “only yard work.” Instead, Drury “would always be doing some work with the dredge.” The Captain also conceded to the Jones Act lawyer that, when the crew wasn’t operating the dredge, they were transferred to another dredge. A project manager for the employer also testified to the Jones Act lawyer that when a dredge is sent to the yard for repairs and maintenance, the “crew typically stays with the vessel.” The Jones Act lawyer emphasized the engineer’s use of the term “crew.”
Jones Act Lawyer: “Vessel Does Not Stop Being A Vessel At Dockside”
The personnel records introduced by the Jones Act lawyer showed Drury was re-hired as a mate for the dredge and performed the work of a seaman as a mate until the dredge was taken to the yard for repair. The vessel owner, pointed out the Jones Act lawyer, relied on arguing that an employee’s seaman status “may somehow change if his basic assignment changes.” However, both the Captain and Drury testified in answer to the Jones Act lawyer that Drury’s basic assignment had not changed. Drury continued to perform work that would contribute to the functioning of the dredge by repairing it, observed the Jones Act lawyer. Finally, the Captain even admitted to the Jones Act lawyer that Drury “would have been taken along on the dredge as a mate if he’d been able to return to duty.”
In this case, Drury’s connection to the dredge didn’t change when it was docked, pointed out the Jones Act lawyer. A vessel, the Jones Act lawyer had also shown, doesn’t stop being a vessel when she’s not voyaging. This was especially true, the Jones Act lawyer emphasized, when the repairs last a fairly short period of time. The evidence from the Jones Act attorney, agreed the appeals court, was strong, and enough to support the jury’s finding that Drury was a seaman. The award was upheld.
A Jones Act lawyer will help to re-enact and accurately create the accident for a jury. As in this case, the difference was a strong demonstration to the jury, which frequently makes the vessel owner’s duty more apparent. One way for an injured seaman to help recreate his case is to get treatment, and then as quickly as possible, get the confidential help of a Jones Act lawyer.