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SNEED|MITCHELL

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Protecting The Future Of Jones Act Seaman

HOUSTON MARITIME & JONES ACT LAWYERS

OUR HOUSTON MARITIME LAWYERS ARE KNOWN NATIONWIDE FOR HELPING OFFSHOREMAN AND HAVE SECURED MILLIONS FOR VICTIMS. WE’RE READY TO HELP YOU NOW. 

NEWS: Our Lawyers Currently Are Seeking $5.5 Million Injured Deckhand Working Aboard An Undermanned Tugboat

 

EXPERIENCED HOUSTON MARITIME & JONES ACT LAWYERS

Whether you’re in Houston, Harris County, Pasadena, Baytown or or even Texas or National, if you’ve been injured and Need Texas' Best, We're Ready To Help.

We understand exactly you're going through. 

In about 50% of our maritime cases our client ask that we align a secondary medical opinion after the company doctor pre-maturely and intentionally cleared them for work. We do it every time. Offshoreman, by nature, aren't complainers. Consistent work aboard offshore drilling contractors, dredging and land reclamation companies, bulk carriers tankerships, ,  

Sneed|Mitchell LLP is regularly referred maritime cases from lawyers across Texas - a testament to our caliber and experience against offshore conglomerates like Nabors, Transocean, Great Lakes, Marathon, Diamond Offshore, and BP, and more. After a serious offshore injury, you need counsel to listen closely to ongoing treatment needs, protect your claim against to footfalls and inconsistencies existing in admirably law, and put the firms energy and resources 

Maritime employees risk injury the entire time they are on the clock, and even while off-duty but still living and working aboard the vessel. Courts and occupational safety administrations recognize this extreme dangers faced by maritime workers. Consequently, maritime law is continually evolving and legal professionals are constantly working in order to protect injured seamen. Maritime law allows workers that have suffered injuries offshore or elsewhere in the maritime industry the opportunity to claim just compensation for their pain and suffering. 

HOUSTON MARITIME LAW

  • Jones Act

  • Death on the High Seas Act

  • Longshore & Harbor Worker's Compensation Act

  • Maintenance & Cure

CHOOSE HOUSTON'S ELITE MARITIME INJURY LAWYER

Maritime law is a complex and nuanced field. Though these laws are designed to protect the rights of maritime workers, they can often prove difficult to navigate. That is why it is crucial to seek legal representation from the Houston Maritime attorney with a deep background in this specialized area of the law. 

 

  1. We have won millions of dollars on behalf of our maritime clients.

  2. We have won for clients across the United States

  3. We use contingency fees so don’t pay unless we win

  4. We offer completely free, confidential, and no-obligation case evaluations.

There is no substitute for an experienced Houston maritime lawyer. The first question you should ask when choosing your attorney is how many cases they have tried. Don’t let an attorney dance around your questions. As in any other field, honest, direct answers are an indication of a competent professional.  

BE CAREFUL. MARITIME COMPANIES START TO BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY WHEN YOU NEED HELP

When you are involved in an on-the-job accident, you have many legal protections it is crucial to remember:

 

  • First, never forget that you have the legal right to select your doctor. You are not obligated to limit yourself to the doctor’s office or physician recommended by your workplace or insurance company. In some cases, you may be required to see the recommended doctor for an evaluation. That is where your legal obligation begins and ends. The physician you ultimately choose for treatment is up to you. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated or threatened by any employer or adjuster.  

  • Second, you are entitled to medical treatment. Medical benefits are protected under a federal law known as the Jones Act. Injured maritime workers are thus federally entitled to compensation for their medical bills following an injury, regardless of who is ultimately at fault for the accident. 

 

The Jones Act also protects injured seamen given differing opinions by doctors. If one physician recommends treatment while another claims it is not necessary, the disagreement will be resolved in favor of treatment. Furthermore, if a pre-existing condition or injury is aggravated by an accident (an unfortunate reality for many seamen), employers are obligated to provide adequate coverage for the treatment of those complications, as well. Armed with an evidentiary statement from your doctor you can pursue the compensation you are entitled to. 

 

Regardless of whether or not you sign paperwork presented to you by an insurance adjuster, you are entitled to medical benefits and financial maintenance payments. Despite this, it is in your best interest to be cautious of any documents brought to you by the representative of an insurance company. Typically, these agreements do not make your safety and well-being a priority.

 

  • Third, you are not obligated to give a recorded statement following an injury. Reporting the incident as quickly as possible is an essential step of the legal process. However, no one can ignore the fact that many accidents may affect the memory and mental functioning of an injured person. Because of this reality, it is unwise to record a statement of events that one may later need to go through the difficult process of adjusting. 

 

From the initial filing of a claim to the preparation and execution of a court case, there are a number of instances in which one’s rights are at risk of being compromised. Many employers and insurance companies care little, if at all, about the well-being of injured employees. Finding an attorney who will fight for you is a crucial part of securing your health and well-being following an injury. 

Our Houston Maritime Lawyers Fight For Clients Injured On:

 

  • General Vessel accidents 

  • Blue Water Vessels 

  • Jack-up rig accidents

  • Dredging operations

  • Barge accidents

  • Deck accidents

  • Commercial fishing accidents

  • Tugboat accidents

  • Cargo ship accidents

  • Oil platform accidents

  • Shipyard accidents

  • Fixed Platform Accidents

WE KNOW THE INJURIES OFFSHOREMEN SUFFER OUR IN THE GULF

Maritime and Jones Act Seaman work in consistently hazardous and dangerous conditions, offshore, including increment weather, flammables, heavy equipment, dates, and undermanned vessel. In 2019, the EMSA reported 23,043 casualties across 25,614 vessel, with injuries including: 

Pit bull-type
Rottweiler
German Shepherd
Husky breeds (such as Siberian Husky)
Akita
Bull-mastiff
Doberman Pinscher
Malamute
Boxer
Collie
Australian Shepard
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Wolf-Hybrids
Newfoundland
Bulldog
Mastiff
Chow Chow
Great Dane
Mixed breeds
Hound-type
Retriever-type
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
West Highland Terrier
Terrier-type
Japanese Hunting Dog
Sled-Type
Coonhound
Lab-Retreiver
Saint Bernard
Sheepdog
Cocker Spaniel

MARITIME CLAIMS HANDLES BY SNEED|MITCHELL LLP

At Sneed and Mitchell, we regularly handle both personal injury claims under the Jones Act and more general maritime claims, such as unseaworthiness and wrongful death. We are well versed in maritime law, the most important components of which include:

The Jones Act

 

The Jones Act, or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that allows seamen to file a lawsuit against an offshore employer for injuries caused by the negligence of that employer or co-worker. In order to qualify for protection under the Jones Act, a seaman’s job must contribute to the function of the vessel and the completion of its mission. The inured seamans connection to the vessel must be substantial both in terms of importance and duration.

 

While these criteria may seem straightforward, pursuing a claim under the Jones Act can prove complicated. The best way to protect your rights and obtain just compensation is to consult a knowledgeable maritime attorney. Though at Sneed and Mitchell we prefer to resolve Jones Act claims via out-of-court settlements, our trial lawyers also have a proven history of winning appropriate settlements in court. 

 

What is Maintenance and Cure?

Maintenance and cure is a form of workers’ compensation proscribed under the Jones Act that provides benefits to injured seamen until they are able to work again:

 

  • Maintenance is money paid to an injured seaman to cover daily living expenses for each day he or she is unable to work. Employers typically attempt to pay minimal amounts, often as low as $15-to-$40 per day, but the courts have ruled that maintenance must be equal to the injured seamen’s actual expenses.

 

  • Cure is the offshore employer’s obligation to pay all the injured seaman’s medical costs until he or she has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), the point at which doctor determines that further medical treatment will not improve the injured worker’s condition.

 

If your employer fails to pay maintenance and cure, Sneed and Mitchell can help you win the care you deserve, including, in some cases, attorney fees and punitive damages.

MANY PARTIES COULD BE LIABLE FOR YOUR MARITIIME INJURIES, IT ISN'T ALWAYS YOUR EMPLOYER

Without the safety net of Workman’s Comp, maritime employees are often forced to rely on the provisions of the Jones Act for compensation. In certain ways, however, maritime workers actually have a better system at their disposal, which is why contacting a maritime injury lawyer is of utmost importance when an injury has occurred.

 

Under the provisions of the Jones Act, maritime workers can sometimes file negligence lawsuits that go beyond the standard maintenance and cure. They can win more substantial settlements from negligence suits. Furthermore, plaintiffs only need prove that the employer’s negligence contributed to the injury in some way. Negligence need not be the sole cause of the injury. In fact, it may only play a very small role in order to still be relevant. 

 

Employers often argue that maritime workers acknowledge the substantial risks inherent to working aboard a sea-going vessel. That acknowledgment, however, does not absolve an employer of responsibility when something goes wrong. Employers must build and maintain their ships to code, making repairs as needed in order to ensure a safe work environment. ‘Reasonable care’ must be exercised during operations. Potential mishaps must be foreseen and prevented. Negligence, however, is not limited to the way the ship is maintained. Sometimes, irresponsible decisions that put employees at risk also qualify as negligent behavior on the part of the employer. Forcing workers to perform tasks in unsafe conditions, skip safety procedures, perform tasks for which they have not been trained, or to deviate from industry best-practices are just a few examples of negligence.

HOW MUCH IS MY MARITIME CASE WORTH

Injured seamen face a host of costs following serious accidents. Such expenses have not only an immediate impact but can also affect the injured party for years to come. The immediate consequences of an injury are obvious: an inability to work, steep bills, and the pain and suffering associated with injury or illness. None of that includes the future cost of an injury. Determining precisely what that cost will be, however, is not easy. In some cases, an individual may require life-long medical attention. The complications caused by their accident may eventually prove fatal.

Consider these costs that could result from a maritime injury or death of a seaman:

  • Hospitalization

  • Long-term rehabilitation

  • In-home care

  • Lost wages

  • Lost Earning Capacity

  • Emotional and financial counseling

  • Vocational rehabilitation

  • Mental Anguish 

  • Counseling

  • Pain and Suffering

  • Future Health Complications

  • Loss of Consortium

With such possibilities hanging over the heads of the injured and their families, recovering just damages is essential for victims. At Sneed and Mitchell, securing the best possible settlements for our clients is non-negotiable.

"I'M BEING PAID IMPROPER WORKER'S COMP AND NEED A MARITIME LAWYER."

We get this call often. When an accident or injury occurs at a workplace, the injured employee typically has the right to compensation for medical expenses and loss of wages. Offshore workers have the same right to benefits when they are injured in accidents that occur on offshore vessels such as oil rigs, offshore platforms, and jack-up rigs. However, seamen and harbor workers differ from normal employees because they are dependent on their employer for shelter and food in addition to normal wages. When a maritime worker falls ill or is injured while at sea, medical care may also be required.

Therefore, when offshore workers are injured, the first concerns typically involves medical expenses.

  • How will they pay for your necessary treatments?

  • What source of income will they survive on while recovering?

  • Will their work pay for their injuries?

With so many questions surrounding an offshore injury, it is no wonder that so many seamen do not know their rights or how to enforce them. However, it is critical to recognize that any seaman who is injured while at sea has the legal right to receive maintenance and cure from their employer. Whether you are a commercial fisherman, a deckhand, or any other position, you are entitled to these benefits.

The principle of maintenance and cure is one of the central aspects of general maritime law. Per this principle, a vessel owner must pay for your living expenses, such as food, rent, electricity, phone, transportation, and for your medical treatment until you reach maximum medical improvement. There is no need to prove the shipowner was at fault to receive these benefits.

  • The obligation to "cure" simply means that the shipowner is required to pay for medical expenses at no cost to the seaman injured while in service to the ship. Maximum medical cure is the point at which the employer needs to provide medical treatment which improves his functioning ability, which is going further than just providing medical attention until he has healed.

  • The language of "maintenance" is what binds the shipowner to provide his offshore employee with the means to live while he is rehabilitating. Once the worker has improved, he can maintain himself again and no longer needs his employer's maintenance.

For work injuries, a seaman receives compensation benefits that are intended to cover all healthcare costs. Once a seaman reaches the maximum medical improvement (MMI) they will no longer receive maintenance and cure. Even if a seaman has not fully recovered, they may be deemed as healthy as they are going to get. This means that maintenance and cure may not cover all pain, suffering, and desired medical treatment.

Our Houston Jones Act Lawyers Are Ready To hear The Story. Complete a Free Case Evaluation form and a lawyer will call you right now.

OFFSHORE INFORMATION CENTER

What If My Employer Won't Pay Maintenance And Cure? 

Among the  United Stated most populous cities, Houston rank #1 in total acreage of outdoor park space by having 52,912 acres of total park space. Unfortunately, many dog owners often believe that vast park space means their canine can roam off leash. This is not true. If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog at a popular Houston, Texas park, chances are the recreational area has a "leash law", which entitles you to compensation from the owner. 

As an example, Houston's Discovery Green Park Rules state that dogs must be leashed except in the dog runs, this is the same for Levy Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, and Emancipation Park. Hermann Park has recently announced that their Conservancy has plans for an "off-leash" park, but the two-acre development s not completed, forcing all dogs to remain on leash until then. if you or a loved one suffered injuries a park or recreational area throughout Houston, Austin, Dallas, or anywhere else in Texas, ask our Dog Bite Lawyers what laws govern that area and we'll also inform you of your legal options.  

THE BEST MARITIME LAWYER IN HOUSTON

Our goal is to help injured offshore workers get their lives back on track. Because of this, we work tirelessly to prepare their case for trial, including conducting extensive investigations and consulting with quality offshore industry and medical experts.

With us, you can be confident knowing you will have someone on your side capable of navigating the unique aspects of offshore law, all while protecting your rights, handling communications with your employer, dealing with adjustors, and fighting for maximum recovery. We believe we're the clear choice for injured offshore workers.

If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured or or if you have lost a as a result of an offshore accident, it is extremely important that you get sound legal advice from a qualified maritime injury lawyer at our firm before you discuss the matter with your employer or insurance company. Get started with your case today by requesting your free case evaluation or calling our firm at (888) 493-1629.