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Maritime/Offshore Injury

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What Is a Crewmember?

Offshore workers have a difficult job, regardless of the vessel they are currently on. Crewmembers have signed up to work several weeks offshore, followed by several weeks at home with family. This means that they are often gone during some of the pivotal soccer games, graduations, and anniversaries. Crewmembers give up a lot to be able to work offshore, and therefore should be able to take advantage of compensation claims after an accident occurs at sea.

What is a Crewmember?

Similar to a sailor or seaman, a crewmember refers to a person who works onboard a vessel. The label of crewmember extends to foreigners who receive a crewmember visa that allows them the ability to work onboard a specific vessel. The definition of a crewmember becomes important when attempting to claim compensation for injuries under various federal acts.

Maritime Law

The Jones Act allows certain seaman recovery options after an accident occurs onboard a vessel. Prior to the implementation of the Jones Act, many sailors and seaman were critically injured while in the course of their duties and could no longer work. As the sole providers for their families, this proved devastating for a number of families. The Jones Act corrected this injustice by allowing seaman to recover compensation for their injuries sustained while at sea.

The Jones Act is extended to include seaman who are “generally believed to be a shipmaster or crew member.” Therefore, crewmembers are able to take advantage of the Jones Act. In 1995, the Supreme Court determined that a worker who spent less than 30 percent of his or her time onboard the vessel was not considered to be a seaman under the Jones Act. Therefore, it is important to determine the amount of time a crewmember spends onboard the vessel prior to bringing a claim under the Jones Act. The family of a crewmember who was tragically killed during their employment may additionally be able to bring a claim under the separate Death on the High Seas Act.

An experienced maritime law attorney will be able to assist you in understanding what federal act your claim may fall within, as well as preparing the claim for you.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Lawyer

If you have any questions regarding your company’s liability for an injury that took place while onboard a vessel, do not hesitate to contact the Malley Law Firm. Tony Malley has years of experience in handling all types of maritime law cases and understands the difference between the various theories of recovery. Contact our Texas offices today for your initial free consultation.


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