The Jones Act, Crew Member’s Personal Injury Claims

Working on ships can be difficult because any treatment for injuries can be stalled because of limited resources. For those crew members who have been injured while working on ships, they can file for personal injury claims through the Jones Act. The Jones Act, better known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a statute in the United States providing the promotion and preservation of a US merchant marine.

Generally, the Jones Act provides protection for sailors who are injured or have died due to negligence of the owner, a master or a fellow sailor of the same vessel, while they are on the course of their service. Through this act, the injured sailors or their survivors have the right to file a lawsuit against their employers so long as the negligent conduct of their employers or fellow sailors are the reason for the injuries (through illogical carelessness) and the injured sailor has the right for trial by jury.

The Jones Act is a very important and vital part of maritime law, particularly for sailors, because those who are injured during their employment are not allowed to file for worker’s compensation or worker’s comp claims versus their employers since they are not entitled for it according to state and federal law. Also, in order for a sailor to be covered by the Jones Act, they should be working more than 30 percent of the time employed as a crew member. Dock workers, along with shipbuilders, are not covered by the Jones Law.

An employer can be held liable for injuries or death under the Jones Act if they have not complied with providing a reasonably secure place of work as well as failing to maintain and keep the vessel (or workplace) is a safe condition. Because the Jones Act is an employee-friendly law, it is easier to prove negligence and causation. All the injured sailor has to do is prove there is negligence that created a dangerous condition that subsequently led to injury.

Just as with any personal injury claims, an injured sailor is entitled to damages that cover medical bills (both past and future expenses), lost earnings, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. Sailors should be aware that they have three years to file for an injury, otherwise it would be more beneficial to contact a lawyer who specializes in maritime law.

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Oil Field Accidents and Injuries

Oil field jobs are sought after because they are very well paid. This is because working in an oil field is probably one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Oil fields are inherently dangerous sites because the nature of the work requires the presence of lots of pressure, flammable materials, and hazardous chemicals. After all, it is the energy industry.

Oil field workers are constantly exposed to these dangerous working conditions and expected to do a lot of heavy lifting under strenuous circumstances. Those aspiring to make money from oil fields as a worker therefore need to be physically fit and healthy to be able to handle the stresses of the job over an extended period. The best way to ensure this is to subject would-be new hires to pre-employment screening that includes a thorough physical exam, endurance testing, strength measures, and lifting capabilities.

However, even if a worker passes pre-employment screening, it is no guarantee that the potential for injury is eliminated. A physically qualified oil field worker typically works a minimum of 12 hours a shift, seven days straight before a break, and the work is hard and dirty. This takes a toll on the workers’ energy and concentration, and oil field accidents and injuries happen constantly. The most common injuries are caused by explosions or the uncontrolled release of pressure which is part and parcel of the fracking (hydraulic fracturing) process. Such injuries are often serious, and many are fatal. This is not to mention the possibility of an earthquake at a fracking site. Such an earthquake could be very damaging and catastrophic.

Given that oil field work is dangerous, employers have the responsibility to provide their workers with as good as chance at surviving as possible by supplying them with the appropriate safety gear, giving them proper training, and allowing them reasonable rest periods. According to the website of Tennessee lawyers Pohl and Berk, failure to take the proper precautions which lead to serious oilfield accidents and injuries may be construed as employer negligence. Contact an oilfield accident attorney to learn more about how civil litigation in such cases work. You may be able to receive compensation for your injuries if they were preventable and were the result of one of these forms of employer neglect.

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What Happens to a Family-Owned Business during Divorce

Divorce in itself is a complex, highly-charged emotional and stressful experience. It can be further complicated when a family business is thrown into the mix. With more than 50% of marriages in the US ending in divorce, and with nearly 90% of businesses being family-owned, the chances that a family business will be part of the property division issue of a divorce is quite high.

There are many issues that will come up with regard to this type of property division, and because of the many legal ramifications, it is important to have competent legal representation overseeing the process. As an article on the website of the Raleigh Law Office of Marshall & Taylor, P.C. states, a divorce lawyer should have a deep understanding of how to protect the client’s rights when it comes to dividing the family business.

The difficulty of dividing the assets of a family business so that is it fair to both spouses depends on many things. Aside from any rancor that the spouses may be feeling towards each other, the business side of the family business will affect the way it will be managed in a divorce. For example, in a single proprietorship or partnership, only the spouses will be affected by the division of assets. In a corporation, there will be other shareholders to consider.

There is also the question of control. If one spouse runs the company without the help the husband or wife, it is more than likely that a buyout will occur. If both spouses are heavily involved in the business, it is possible that they will continue to work in the business after the divorce as no more than partners. The simpler option is for both spouses to agree to sell the business to a third party and divide the proceeds.

According to the website of the business lawyers of Arenson Law Group, PC, a family-owned business, unless otherwise stipulated in the business papers, is community property and will be divided equally to the spouses. The method by which the valuation and division is done will be determined by the circumstances of the divorce itself and the business setup. This is why it’s good to have an understanding of how your business is structured, and why it is important to have a lawyer who is able to understand your business circumstances.

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