Bill Adler: Welcome to Hammer TV everybody. I’m Bill Adler, The Texas Hammer, and this is Jim Adler, The Texas Hammer. Today, we’re going to talk about maritime injuries and offshore injuries. So Jim, if you’d talk a little bit about what the difference is between maritime law and the Jones Act, if you would take us from there.
Jim Adler: Sure. Maritime law is the general law that applies to activities on the high seas. It involves all kinds of shipping vessels, cargo, the great body of law that applies to maritime or ocean activities. The Jones Act is a really great law that protects workers on the high seas or workers who are on any kind of floating offshore rig, or who are working on a cargo ship, or a tanker ship.
Bill Adler: All right. Well, who qualifies and who doesn’t qualify as a Jones Act seaman?
Jim Adler: Well, in general, a Jones Act seaman is anyone that’s working on a vessel that’s floating and is not permanently attached to the ocean beds, so to speak.
Bill Adler: I see.
Jim Adler: So you’re talking about a crew member on a ship. Let’s say, an engineer or, let’s say, you’re on a jackup rig drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. You’re talking about a tool pusher. You’re talking about your crew members, your drillers, your deck hands, et cetera.
Bill Adler: All right. Well, take us through what type of ships or vessels are protected by Jones Act law. I know you just mentioned some specific type of workers, but talk to us a little bit about vessels which are protected by Jones Act law.
Jim Adler: Well, when you’re talking about the vessels that are protected by Jones Act laws, you’re looking at members of the crews of vessels that are engaged in ocean activities, or they could be on rivers working on tow boats, or tugboats, or push boats, or workers on barges, crew members on barges. So that there’s a lot of equipment, and cargo, and chemical stock that goes up and down rivers in this country and goes across the intercoastal canal. The Jones Act is a law that gives tremendous protection to these workers. You’re talking about your workers on shifts, any kind of shifts, whether it’s a cargo vessel coming into the Houston ship channel, or a vessel, a tanker, any kind of maritime vessel that’s hauling cargo or any kind of products, feed stocks, chemicals, hauling crude oil, what have you.
Jim Adler: Then you’ve got … Basically, you talk about your blue water seamen under the Jones Act and your Brown water seamen under the Jones Act. The blue water seamen are the guys that work on the high seas, so they’re going from country to country. And American-owned vessels and workers on American-owned vessels are protected under the Jones Act from injury. The Brown water workers are the workers typically that work on oil rigs or they’re involved in drilling activities, so that you’re talking about, there’s a semi-submersible drilling rig. There’s a drill ship, there’s a jackup ship, there’s the supply boats that bring supplies out to these rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The crane operators, all the people that live on board a rig, they’re all protected under the Jones Act if the rig is floating in the Gulf of Mexico-
Bill Adler: I see.
Jim Adler: … or in the North Sea or in Alaska, what have you.
Bill Adler: Well, talk to us a little bit about Admiralty law and what specifically it is.
Jim Adler: Well, Admiralty law is the general body of law that’s developed over the years that applies to ocean activities. And when people are working on water, it protects cargo, it protects any kind of activities and applies to any kind of activities that involve shipping activities or offshore rigs. Any type of work on the ocean, or the seas, or maritime law can be considered to apply to activities in a harbor involving different type of vessels.
Bill Adler: I see. All right. So, tell us a little bit about why it’s so important that you hire an experienced maritime or Jones Act lawyer so they can help you on your claim. Why is it so important?
Jim Adler: Well, because typically workers are hurt on ships or offshore rigs and they’re covered by the Jones Act, number one. So they need a Jones Act lawyer who can help them with their injury claim and their damages’ claim. They’re also entitled to benefit from the doctrine of unseaworthyness. In other words, vessels need to be safe and seaworthy, and if they’re not, there’s a strong claim for unseaworthyness. Finally, workers are entitled to maintenance and cure. So maintenance is the weekly benefits that they’re paid and cure is the medical benefits that they’re entitled to be paid. Those are the types of things that you find under the Jones Act. And can we talk a little bit about the history of the Jones Act?
Bill Adler: Sure. Tell us a little bit about the history of the Jones Act.
Jim Adler: It’s interesting, because the Jones Act was based on the railroad laws. The Federal Employees Labor Act that protected dangerous activities by railroad workers working on the railroad in the old days.
Bill Adler: That’s right.
Jim Adler: And these kind of railroad workers were exposed to very hazardous conditions. And to this day, if they’re working in interstate commerce on the different railroad lines throughout the United States, they’re protected by the FELA, the Federal Employees Labor Act. So that protects your railroad workers. It was then considered important in America, in the United States that the Jones Act be designed to protect workers on ships, blue water seamen, and the Brown water seamen that we talked about.
Jim Adler: And the whole idea of the law is that it has what they call the featherweight test of negligence. The workers are considered to have the highest degrees of protection, and whether they’re crew members, deck hands, in the engineering department of a ship, or whether they’re crew members on an offshore rig, the Jones Act gives them high protection and they just have to meet what we call the featherweight test of negligence, which means they’re entitled to be fully protected, more so than a person working on land that gets injured.
Bill Adler: I see. Well, if you could give everybody the number. If they’ve been involved in a Jones Act or maritime case, and they need to call us, what’s the number to call?
Jim Adler: If you’ve been injured working on the water, please call us at 1-800-567-7575. You can also contact us on the web at jimadler.com. We’re here to help injured workers who are hurt at sea, or in the Gulf of Mexico, or anywhere working over water. I realize that it’s dangerous out there for folks working. Everything’s moving. You’ve got high seas, you’ve got dangerous conditions. Those storms are bad.
Bill Adler: Well, thanks everybody for watching Hammer TV. We’d like to know your comments, your questions. We’d like to know interesting topics that you want us to discuss on our future shows. We’d really love it if you liked us on Facebook or shared this video with your friends or family members that we could potentially help. That would mean a lot to us. So this is Bill and Jim Adler signing off for today. Everybody, if you need us, call us. We’re here to help. Thanks.