A slippery deck injury can put a maritime employee out of work for months–if not permanently. Fortunately, if you qualify under the Jones Act this type of injury is still covered. You have the legal right to pursue a financial recovery if your injury was due to negligence or the ship’s lack of seaworthiness. You may be entitled to a wide range of compensation under the Jones Act–in addition to the traditional remedies of maintenance and cure.
In any Texas maritime accident, it’s important to know your rights and options under the Jones Act. Before signing anything or accepting a settlement offer, speak to a knowledgeable and highly experienced Houston maritime lawyer. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we have been helping maritime and offshore employees for decades and are happy to guide you in your recovery.
If you’ve suffered a slippery deck injury in Houston, call us for a free consultation: 281-283-8500
Jones Act Claims for Slip and Fall Injury
Jones Act claims for slippery deck injuries are common. They also apply for injuries occurring near the ship, such as on the dock. For example, in October of this year, a Port Arthur based sailor sued his employer under the Jones Act to recover damages for the injuries sustained after a slip and fall accident on the dock.
The claim alleged that he injured his back and shoulders after slipping on a slick substance on the surface, and that the injuries would not have occurred had the employer equipped the dock with a non-skid material. The complaint, which was filed just days before the two-year statute of limitations expired, seeks over $100,000 in damages. The compensation available under a Jones Act claims:
- Medical care
- Lost wages (both past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of rehabilitation and therapy
The Jones Act entitles injured maritime professionals to maintenance and cure, which traditionally were the only benefits available to sailors before they were given the right to sue in court. Maintenance and cure benefits do not require proving that the employer was negligent or at fault for the injury, and cover the medical, housing, and food costs of injured sailors until they reach the point of maximum recovery. A failure to provide maintenance and cure after an injury may provide an additional basis for bringing suit against a maritime employer.
Slip and Fall Accidents: A Leading Cause of Maritime Injuries
Many sailors become injured in much the same way as the worker mentioned above. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), approximately 43 percent of reported maritime injuries are caused by a slip and fall. There’s an almost infinite amount of dangerous conditions that could cause a slip and fall accident on a ship or dock:
- Slippery surfaces (either because of spills or inadequate materials)
- Unmarked obstacles and obstructions
- Cluttered decks
- Loose lines
- Absence of safety barriers and nets
- Lack of lighting
- Poorly planned or implemented deck procedures
- Lack of training
OSHA has concluded that many of these conditions would not exist, and therefore less slip and fall accidents would occur, if ship operators followed better safety procedures, increased crew training, and took better care of equipment.
How a Houston Maritime Injury Lawyer Can Help
According to the Jones Act, sailors have the right to a safe work area. When a maritime employer breaches this duty, and a sailor is injured as a result, the sailor is legally entitled to recover damages. Usually, employers or their insurance companies offer a settlement to the injured worker, but sometimes, a lawsuit is necessary to obtain what is adequate.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a vessel, do not accept a settlement offer before speaking with an experienced Jones Act lawyer. It is possible that you are entitled to more than what was initially offered to you.