In order to recover money damages for your offshore injury following a serious maritime accident, you must prove that your company’s negligence actually contributed to causing your injury. Fortunately, the Courts have consistently held Jones Act employers to a strict standard demanding that they exercise a high degree of care to avoid inflicting maritime injury on their offshore employees. That’s good news for you.
While you still bear the burden of proof, an injured Jones Act seaman need only prove that his employer’s negligence had the slightest role in causing the maritime accident to occur. This is known as the featherweight burden of proof. This means that if you can demonstrate that your employer did something wrong that contributed to or caused your maritime injury, you can hold them responsible for paying your damages including medical expenses, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish and more.
What if I caused my own offshore injury?
Even if you contributed to causing your own maritime injury, you may still be eligible to recover damages from your employer. The Jones Act, originally called the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, was drafted to give the benefit of the doubt to offshore workers. It does that by holding your employer 100% responsible for any harm that its negligence causes. If your supervisor gives you a bad order, a piece of equipment fails or even if one of your co-workers goofs off and causes you to get hurt, that is enough to support your claim. Also, if a condition onboard your vessel contributed in any way to your maritime accident, you may also have an additional claim of unseaworthiness against the owner. Even missing safety equipment or broken restroom facilities could be enough to support a finding of unseaworthiness.
Fitts Zehl, LLP: Experienced Texas Maritime Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you know has been hurt offshore on a boat, ship, rig or other vessel, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Texas maritime accident lawyer today to discuss your options. Remember, your employer is going to do everything in its power to protect its profit margin. If that means shorting you on your maritime injury claim, then so be it. Don’t do, say or sign anything until you have consulted with one of our knowledgeable Jones Act attorneys. Otherwise, you could put yourself in a bad position.