While maintenance and cure can aid an injured seaman they often do not provide enough. A tremendous benefit of the Jones Act is the capability to file a claim against your employer, the vessel owner, and third parties. Negligence occurs when there is a failure to exercise reasonable care. Successful recognition and pursuance of these claims requires great skill and experience.
When negligence of a crew member or employer contributes in any way to an injury, the employer may be liable as a “third party”. Negligence arises when someone acts unreasonable and contributes to the cause of an injury. An example of this would be if a coworker misused a tool, resulting in injury to a fellow crew member. Employers have a duty to ensure their employees are well equipped and trained. If they fail to do so and as a result you are harmed by a coworker or other employee then the employer may be held liable.
Injuries may arise due to unforeseen accidents but sometimes neglect of a vessel is at fault. Federal law requires vessel owners to maintain their vessel in seaworthy condition. Seaworthy means the vessel must be adequately staffed, sufficiently supplied and in working condition. Consideration must be given to the voyage length, cargo, staff and foreseeable conditions. In general, the boat, equipment and crew must be in proper condition and complete their intended functions. Failure to provide proper equipment, training or guidance can make a vessel unseaworthy. While no one might be actively negligent, the lack of meeting seaworthiness requirements fulfills the criteria for negligence. Reasonable care should be taken to ensure the workplace is safe and workers are protected from danger. If something did not work for its intended purpose and an injury resulted from this, the vessel owner may be liable for being unseaworthy. Only the aspect that contributes to the injury must be unseaworthy for damages to be rewarded. Vessel owners have an absolute duty to ensure the seaworthiness of the vessel. Numerous of our cases arise out of issues with the seaworthiness of the vessel and in question.
The lawyers at Doyle LLP have vast experience in offshore claims and understand numerous federal maritime laws, such as the Jones Act law, that apply to offshore claims. Our Texas firm works every day to help clients across state lines and international borders in their maritime accident claims. Contact a Maintenance and Cure Lawyer Today!