Experienced Jones Act Lawyer Fighting For Seaman Nationwide

Jones Act seamen constitute a unique class of merchant marine, crew member, seafarer, deckhand, ship’s officer, by whatever name they may go by aboard ship. Unfortunately, Jones Act seamen inevitably suffer serious personal injury and even death due to accidents caused by the negligence of a vessel owner/operator, a fellow crew member, or worn-out/unsafe tools. A board-certified lawyer at Brais Law Firm is in a unique position to protect a Jones Act seaman who has suffered personal injury or death due to an accident while aboard a cruise ship, tanker, yacht, tug, ferry or workboat. As nationwide Jones Act lawyers, we have previously represented cruise ship companies, ship and vessel operators, and yacht owners for over 20 years nationwide. 

Who Is Protected Under The Jones Act?

The Jones Act provides compensation to a class of employees known as “seamen” (those who are masters, captains, offices, crewmembers, and certain other people who work aboard vessels) for injuries and, in some instances, death due to an accident caused by the negligence of their employer or co-workers. This holds true even when the injured seaman is well aware of the risks associated with their job. Seamen injured on a cruise ship, ferry, water taxi, tug, barges, tankers, riverboat casino, crew boat, shrimp boat, trawler, fishing boat, offshore oil rig, and all other vessels on the ocean and all intra-coastal lakes, rivers, and canals, as well as, certain drivers and underwater personnel are typically covered by the Jones Act.

Working aboard vessels exposes crewmen to unique and constant risks of serious personal injury and even death. If you were injured while working aboard a vessel as a Jones Act seaman, crewman, or commercial fisherman you may well be protected by a federal statute referred to as “The Jones Act.” The Jones Act statute protects crew members of all types and from all parts of the world, including a captain and mate in the wheelhouse to a deckhand, wiper, housekeeper, steward, engineer, fish processor, cook, and even a tour guide aboard a charter vessel. The Jones Act does not discriminate and as a result, the lowest crewmen aboard a vessel have the same rights as a captain. It also protects crew members referred to as “day workers” meaning that they work aboard a vessel during the day and return home at night.

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Common Injuries to Maritime Workers

The Jones Act attorneys at Brais Law Firm have decades of combined experience helping injured maritime workers collect the compensation they deserve. Over our year of practice, we’ve noticed that the following injuries are especially common and lead to substantial injuries and sizable settlements. 

Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury is damage to the bundle of nerves that sends control messages from your brain throughout your body. Injury to the spinal cord can happen directly or through damage to the surrounding tissue and vertebrae. This kind of injury can lead to partial or complete paralysis and may require ongoing medical interventions to achieve the best results. 

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Neck and Back Injuries

Neck and back injuries can be limited to the muscles, tissues, and ligaments or may go deeper into spinal cord injuries. The National Institutes of Health notes that the main cause of these types of injuries falls on the same level (i.e., slip-and-falls). When your injury was due to poor maintenance, poorly kept wires, human error, or other negligence caused by a third party or your employer, if you are a covered employee, you are entitled to compensation through the Jones Act. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries

If you experience a bump, blow, or penetrating wound to your head, you may have a traumatic brain injury or TBI. Even a minor TBI, often referred to as a concussion, can lead to permanent changes in your brain chemistry that can impact your personality and your ability to concentrate.

For example, a TBI can lead to a permanent disability that makes you unable to earn the same amount of income as you did previously, or you may not be able to earn any income at all. This must be taken into account and incorporated into your injury claim if you want your damages covered. 

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Should I Accept A Settlement For My Injuries Without Speaking With A Jones Act Lawyer?

Accepting a settlement means that you are taking a set amount and giving up the legal right to pursue anything further in the future linked to your injury. If you have not taken the time to pursue follow-up opinions from medical and occupational experts, it is not possible to accurately estimate the future medical costs and impact on your ability to work that your injuries will entail. For example, let’s say you slip on the deck of a ship due to a malfunctioning leaky pipe, and you hit your head, splitting it open. You immediately seek emergency medical care, receive stitches, and leave the hospital with a minor headache. If you are offered a settlement that covers your emergency room bills and perhaps a bit more, you might think that you are getting a great offer, but that amount could fail to account for a significant portion of related costs and damages.

A Jones Act Attorney Can Help You Fully Measure The Extent of Your Damages  

If you prematurely accept a settlement and later find out that your superficial head injury was actually a traumatic brain injury, you will have to cover any related recurring bills yourself. You’ll also be unable to get compensation to replace your lost earnings if you accept a settlement that fails to accurately calculate the amount to which you are entitled. Your Jones Act attorney will take over the claims process for you and help you schedule appointments with experts to accurately and completely measure the medical and work-related costs associated with your maritime occupational injury.

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Potential Damages Under The Jones Act

If you were injured, you may be entitled to past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, vocational and occupational retraining, past and future pain and suffering, and psychological suffering. Some serious injuries limit the number and types of jobs available to an injury victim. In this situation, Jones Act seamen are entitled to damages for lost earning capacity. Additionally, if your injury will worsen with time and cut short your career, you are entitled to future lost wages for this loss. An experienced Jones Act lawyer can help you determine your rights. 

A Jones Act seaman injured in the course and scope of his/her employer’s work or “subject to the call of duty” but of the vessel may sue his/her employer and ship’s operator/owner under theories of:

  • Jones Act Negligence,
  • Unseaworthiness,
  • Maintenance and Cure,
  • Unearned or Sick Wages,
  • Breach of Contract,
  • Earned Penalty Wages,
  • Wrongful Discharge from Employment, and
  • Additional Claims

Contact A Jones Act Lawyer at Brais Law Firm

Each claim requires certain elements to be proven to the Judge or Jury deciding your case. If one of the needed elements is not proven, your claim can be dismissed. This means that you will not get compensation for your injury. Knowing what elements must be proven under each maritime claim and how to prove these elements has been the business of the board-certified attorney at the law firm of Brais Law Firm for more than 28 years. The experienced Jones Act lawyers at Brais Law Firm have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve. To reach our maritime lawyers, you may email the firm, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., Skype BraisLaw worldwide, or click Contact Us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.

Keith S. Brais

Who Will be Handling my Case?

Your case will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to get the results you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive, including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made a choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you. Learn more.

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Cruise Ship Crew Member Injury

"I was in pain for a good 6 months, it was just a nightmare. It wasn't until I got Mr. Brais that I really started getting the help I needed from the doctors. You need somebody you can trust, somebody to give you some guidance. They stuck in there with me the whole way."

— Client

I highly recommend Brais Law Firm

"I highly recommend Brais Law Firm. Their professionalism and expertise were top notch. My slip and fall injury case involved a well known cruise ship and was nerve racking to me. They calmed all my fears and walked me through step by step. In the end they helped me obtain a favorable recovery. Look no further, call them with your Maritime case!!!"

— P.C.

Tug & Barge Crew Member Death

"I just thought he [Mr. Brais] was the man to do it. I felt comfortable with him being by my side. The pain my family has suffered has been immeasurable, but he was there with me. It’s not just him, it’s his team also. Keith really stood up for my son. I know I made the best choice."

— Client

I recommend Keith Brais

"I was in an accident where I was struck by a boat and boat propeller. The Brais Law Firm represented me in a very professional manner. I am very satisfied with the service and support I received from the firm and happy with the results they achieved. I recommend Keith Brais and his firm to anyone needing representation related to a maritime personal injury."

— M.C.

Resort Guest Injury

"As we worked with Keith, I realized what would have happened had we just selected an attorney in town…I realized that the outcome would have been probably entirely different, and not as successful as it was. I felt very comfortable going through with the whole process. I would say Keith is a superhero."

— Client

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