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Injured on Crew Boat and The Jones Act

Updated on May 6, 2011

Life Working on a Crew Boat

Having a loved one who worked on a crew boat for quite awhile and having listened to his stories about work, almost made me want to go apply. Then when he got injured learning that federal law governs such injuries and deaths with The Jones Act and maritime law, along with most of the injuries that occur can being rather devastating, I had second thoughts.

Being out on a boat like that though for weeks at a time definitely had it's perks. Just you, the crew, the incredible sunsets and sunrises, and of course the ocean with all of it's amazing inhabitants.The one Brad worked on they basically took people who worked on the oil rigs, barges, and other vessels back and forth to work along with other duties. I thought of it like a water taxi on a much larger scale. I mean how else are they gonna get there, and you know if you watched the video your definitely not swimming! He worked 2 weeks out and one in, and when he first started they worked out of New Orleans. Then after Katrina, they moved to Galveston for obvious reasons.

It was really quite the lifestyle for a young single guy I guess and we got to see each other every couple of months because at the time the air fares were cheap. I imagine it was harder for some of the guys he worked with that had family at home, but it was a great job and they made pretty good money. Plus before they went out, they made a list of things for groceries for which they were given $800. (at the time) allowing them to get what they wanted for snacks, and the cook got the rest for meals. So really, you were rent free and ate free for those two weeks. I better move on this is sounding better by the minute.

These Guys Are Moving


Then He Got Hurt

If you watch the next video you can see when these guys are out there they are moving pretty quick, and that goes double time if they're trying to out run a storm. Even though they have been making the boats larger and more powerful being out there when the weather gets rough can obviously take it's toll when it comes to injuries, as it did with Brad.

When I got the call they told me they were out in some rough waters and he had hit his head pretty hard which knocked him out. He was out for awhile during which time they brought the boat in and rushed him to the hospital. They kept him for observation purposes and to run some tests which appeared to be OK and discharged him He was to go back for a follow up in a few days which he did and they sent him back to work. He said he told the doctor that he was having trouble getting around sometimes due to him getting dizzy, but all the tests came back OK so he went back to work. Two days later I got another call they were taking him back to the hospital because he was on the boat and had just passed out. Now I was getting worried.

They kept him out of work this time and ran more tests but they just couldn't find anything wrong. After about a week of him staying in a hotel after being discharged so he could see more specialists they sent him back again. By this time he was worried and I could tell even though he was around 6'4" and 260lbs he knew that something was wrong, and the it'll be OK wasn't working. He started having a few problems with work in reference to whether he was supposed to get paid while he was off, and with transportation to and from the doctors. I mean don't get me wrong they weren't being mean, it was just becoming very complicated.

I began talking to the lady he was dealing with at work (with his permission of course) and found out that when someone is injured or lost their life while out at sea it is governed by federal maritime law and The Jones Act. I had absolutely not a clue as to what that was all about and told Brad I would do some research.

Let me first state that I am not a lawyer, and even if I was, I assure you that maritime law and dealing with "The Jones Act" would not in anyway shape or form be a part of my practice. To say that is complicated is such an understatement I can't even begin to tell you, and I went to school to be a paralegal.

By law at that time they did not even have to pay him while he was out of work due to his injury UNLESS it was due to a list of things I'm not even going to start trying to remember because I would probably leave out at least 70%. So I called an attorney who did not practice maritime law or know anyone who did for that matter. He stated the laws were very detailed and complicated, and beyond his realm of practice. This wasn't going well. I finally found one and put him in touch with Brad knowing this was something I didn't even want to attempt to figure out.


The Conclusion

They finally found out what was wrong with Brad, which was the crystals in his inner ear had dislodged which was in turn affecting his equilibrium and making him dizzy to the point of passing out depending on his movements. (Something else I learned during that incident).

The lawyer he spoke with was a Texas maritime law attorney who was able to get him to see an ENT doctor who figured it all out, and now he is doing much better

If you know anyone who is injured while working at sea and are having problems I can't stress enough to get some legal advice form a maritime law attorney so they at least have an idea of what they are, or are not entitled to. Even if it's just a phone call it will definitely help

Have an incredible day.



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