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Jones Act & Maritime Attorneys in Houston

Commonly recognized among historians and maritime attorneys as the Jones Act, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 encompasses various regulations that oversee domestic and international maritime commerce.

Notably, the Jones Act also extends protections to seafaring workers, granting them the right to pursue legal action against their employers for on-the-job personal injuries.

At Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers, our legal professionals collaborate with seamen to ensure they obtain the rightful compensation for their injuries. Our maritime attorneys in Houston boast a collective experience surpassing 100 years and are dedicated to providing the necessary support and advocacy to achieve maximum compensation, including maintenance and cure benefits unique to maritime employees.

Jones Act & Maritime Law – Legal Recourse for Seafarers

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, better recognized as the Jones Act among maritime law experts, includes provisions to regulate sea and waterway trade, both domestic and international. Crucially, it also offers protections for maritime workers, granting them the right to seek legal redress for injuries incurred while performing their duties.

Eligibility for Compensation Under the Jones Act

Under the Jones Act, sailors and other maritime employees are eligible for compensation for injuries sustained while on duty if:

  1. The incident resulted from employer or coworker negligence.
  2. The incident occurred aboard an unseaworthy vessel.

Criteria for Vessel Unseaworthiness

To argue a ship’s unseaworthiness and secure full compensation for injuries, the following standards must typically be met:

  1. The ship’s structure is sound and appropriate for its purpose.
  2. Necessary equipment and technology are present and functional.
  3. Adequate safety measures are in place to protect the crew and passengers.

Failure to meet these criteria can lead to a vessel being declared unseaworthy and may form the basis for compensation claims related to injuries and losses.

Understanding Negligence and Maritime Workplace Safety

Our maritime legal experts are deeply familiar with the complexities of the Jones Act and maritime law. We advocate for sailors, cruise ship staff, harbor employees, and oil industry workers injured due to negligence or unsafe working conditions. Our case history includes a broad spectrum of claims, such as deaths at sea, injuries at sea, and coastal waterway accidents.

Determining Seaman Status

Determining whether an injured party qualifies as a seaman is critical in Jones Act cases, affecting eligibility for compensation. Seamen generally include crew members working on various vessels, with specific criteria regarding their role and time spent serving the vessel. Not all maritime workers qualify as seamen, but alternative maritime legal remedies might be available.

Types of Maritime Accidents and Legal Remedies

Offshore oil rig work is notably hazardous, with various accidents and injuries occurring despite safety measures. Whether due to equipment malfunctions, fires, explosions, or other emergencies, injured maritime workers, including those on oil rigs and barges, may seek compensation under the Jones Act and general maritime law for losses, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Specialized Legal Assistance for Maritime Injuries

Our team at Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers is dedicated to representing maritime workers injured at sea or on various maritime platforms. With a deep understanding of the Jones Act, DOHSA, and other maritime laws, we’re committed to guiding injured workers and their families through the complex legal landscape to secure the compensation they deserve.

Contact us to explore your legal options and begin your journey to recovery. We’re here to advocate for you every step of the way.

Fatality at Sea and DOHSA Rights

For those who have lost a loved one while they were working on a vessel or oil rig, it’s crucial to understand the rights afforded under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). This act permits certain family members to seek compensation following the maritime death of a close relative. Specialized maritime law firms with experienced offshore injury lawyers can guide these individuals through the complexities of DOHSA.

Understanding DOHSA

Under DOHSA, if an individual is fatally injured in international waters while working, their dependents may be entitled to compensation. This includes seamen who lost their lives due to someone else’s negligence. Family members may be able to claim compensation for lost income and to cover final expenses.

DOHSA provides for financial damages, primarily to spouses and children, to help with ongoing financial needs and household maintenance. Compensation under DOHSA can also cover the value of household services the deceased would have provided, like childcare and housekeeping. However, it’s important to note that DOHSA doesn’t provide compensation for non-economic damages like loss of companionship or emotional support.

Eligibility for DOHSA Compensation

To claim under DOHSA, family members must be dependents of the deceased, typically including spouses and minor children. Others may also qualify if they can demonstrate dependency on the deceased.

DOHSA also applies to pilots who are fatally injured more than 12 miles from the coastline, meaning their families might be eligible for damages as well.

The Necessity of a Skilled Admiralty Lawyer

Navigating the legalities of a death at sea is complex. Maritime lawyers, with their specialized experience, can assist family members in understanding and asserting their rights under DOHSA and other relevant maritime laws. While personal injury firms may claim competence in this area, the intricate nature of maritime law demands the expertise of a specialized offshore injury lawyer to ensure the full recovery of all possible damages.

If you’re dealing with a maritime death, it’s critical to have your case reviewed by a maritime lawyer at an offshore injury law firm as soon as possible to secure all potential avenues of compensation.

We stand ready to support you. Reach out to us at (281) 645-5000 or email our team to schedule a free consultation with one of our maritime lawyers.

Injury on Coastal Waterways

Seamen injured on intercoastal waterways may find protection under the Jones Act Maritime law. Claims for maritime workers employed aboard vessels should be assessed by an offshore accident attorney to determine potential Jones Act coverage. Offshore maritime firms with specialized attorneys can guide a seaman’s claim to ensure maximum recovery for maritime injuries.

A skilled offshore injury attorney can direct an injured seaman to all possible recovery avenues, including claims against the employer, the vessel owner, or third-party contractors. Such specialized maritime lawyers are equipped with the expertise to collect evidence and prove the negligence required for recovery. While many personal injury firms might claim to handle Jones Act cases, only an experienced offshore injury lawyer can successfully navigate a Jones

Act case for full compensation

Understanding Maintenance and Cure for Maritime Injuries

Maritime work inherently carries risks, and those injured at sea are entitled to specific legal remedies. It’s crucial for injured maritime workers to consult with a maritime lawyer knowledgeable about Jones Act cases to file a claim.

‘Maintenance and Cure’ Explained

After a maritime work-related injury or severe illness, ‘maintenance and cure’ is a legal remedy allowing seamen to collect compensation for daily living expenses while unable to work. Maritime workers can select their own medical provider, and all related medical expenses should be reimbursed.

‘Maintenance’ covers basic living costs like food, rent, and utilities. However, the rates are typically low, ranging from $15 to $30 daily, and don’t consider family members’ expenses.

‘Cure’ encompasses all medical treatment expenses related to the injury or illness. This includes emergency care, surgeries, rehabilitation, and transportation costs to medical facilities.

Crucially, maintenance and cure compensation isn’t contingent on proving negligence. Injuries not caused by negligence are still covered, and seamen can claim even if they are at fault for their own injuries.

The Need for Specialized Legal Assistance

Injuries at sea often lead to complex legal battles as employers or vessel owners may try to evade financial responsibility. It’s imperative for injured maritime workers to consult a law firm specializing in maritime law. These professionals understand the remedies related to the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

If you’re facing an injury from maritime work, don’t navigate these turbulent waters alone. Contact us at (281) 645-5000 or email our team for a free consultation with a maritime attorney at Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act — Oil Rig Accident Attorney

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) of 1953 extends workers’ compensation to those on drilling platforms, boosting protection for workers in critical industries like mineral mining and oil drilling. This law also addresses jurisdictional questions for accidents on federal land.

OCSLA applies to various types of sea-related accidents, but understanding your rights and protections requires specialized legal insight. Maritime law firms can clarify the applicability of OCSLA to your specific situation. Whether an accident occurs on an oil rig, drilling platform, or other structures on the outer shelf, OCSLA may provide the legal framework for your claim.

Due to the intricacies of OCSLA and the potential for jurisdictional overlap, it’s crucial to seek expert legal advice to protect your interests if you or a loved one suffer injuries or death related to drilling and exploration on the outer continental shelf.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Maritime jobs come with inherent risks, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) offers a safety net for those employed in these sectors. If you’ve suffered a maritime injury, consulting with a maritime attorney is vital to understanding your rights and navigating the claim process.

LHWCA Overview

The LHWCA is designed to protect dock workers, longshoremen, and similar maritime employees, providing compensation for work-related injuries. This includes medical bills and other financial losses directly tied to the injury. Family members of deceased maritime workers may also be eligible for compensation under LHWCA.

Eligibility and Benefits

To be covered under LHWCA, workers must typically be engaged in maritime work and cannot be classified as seamen (who are covered under the Jones Act). Benefits under LHWCA can include medical costs, disability benefits, and wrongful death benefits for family members.

Given the complexities of maritime law and the various compensations available, it’s crucial for injured workers or their families to consult with maritime law firms experienced in navigating these legal waters.

Unseaworthiness Claims

Maritime law provides protection for those injured or killed at sea due to unseaworthy conditions. While the Jones Act covers employer negligence, unseaworthiness claims are directed against the vessel’s owner. Vessel owners are responsible for maintaining a seaworthy vessel, and failure to do so can lead to legal claims for injuries and deaths.

Maritime attorneys specializing in unseaworthiness can help clients understand their rights, gather necessary evidence, and pursue claims to compensate for the losses incurred due to unsafe conditions at sea.

If you or a loved one have been affected by an injury or death at sea, understanding your legal rights and the various maritime laws is essential. Contact us at (281) 645-5000 or email our team.

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Client Reviews


“I am a survivor of the March 23, 2005, BP explosion. Knowing my life had just been changed in an instant and not knowing what was to come was extremely unsettling. So when the time came to find legal representation, I chose Burwell Nebout personal injury attorneys from League City, Texas. Knowing they are from the Galveston County area made this an easy choice. Russ and Jimmy assured me they would do all things possible to help me and my family get through this most difficult time. Once again, I’d like to thank these men and their staff for their professional knowledge and guidance throughout those tough times. I know without a doubt I made the right choice.”

David Laymance
Santa Fe, Texas


“My company has faced disputes that require the litigation process to achieve resolution. I chose Russ and Jimmy to represent me not only for their ability to guide us through the process in a cost-efficient manner with the goal of resolution, but also with the comfort of knowing they have the skills and expertise to try the case.”

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Friendswood, Texas


“Thank you for the excellent work performed by you and your staff in helping our company each step of the way in our pursuit of seeking reimbursement from BP due to our losses from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The presentation of the facts as well as the unknowns with each turn of the roller coaster has been greatly appreciated. I cannot thank you enough for the work you put into this nor credit you enough for the polish and professionalism in the way you did it.”

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Houston, Texas

Case Results

Automobile Accident

$19.2 million

Two clients killed as a result of a special defect in the shoulder of the roadway. A state court jury trial resulted in a $19.2 million verdict.

Premises Liability

$10 million

Children that attended school on a former toxic dump site made claims for exposure injuries. $10 million settlement.

Liberty County Record Verdict

Record-setting verdict

Two high school seniors were on their way home on a stretch of road that had been the subject of repeated complaints to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) about the poor condition of the shoulder. When the students entered a curve, the poor condition of the shoulder resulted in a crash that killed one and severely brain-damaged the other. A trial against the Texas Attorney General’s office resulted in the discovery of altered records, a spoliation instruction, and a record-setting jury verdict for Liberty County.

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