Outside of coastal states like Louisiana, we do not hear much about maritime type lawsuits. But though such lawsuits may seem obscure to much of the rest of the country, even maritime claims made by single individuals can be extremely significant.
A resident in a neighboring gulf state is seeking more than a million dollars in damages concerning what is called a Jones Act lawsuit. Under the Jones Act, employees on boats, ships, ferries and other seagoing vessels are entitled to certain protections and rights with regards to working conditions. These individuals can also seek compensation for injuries or illnesses that may have been brought about by disrepair or negligence of the ship owners.
The individual making this specific claim states that working conditions were so poor on the vessel that he worked that he now had to be fitted with a pacemaker. He alleges that he is no longer allowed to work in the aviation or maritime fields because of his medical condition.
He claims to have been forced to work in a closed environment with no ventilation while being exposed to toxic fumes. He further claims that he was not allowed to leave the ship while making repairs on the damaged jetty. After being released from duty he was then admitted to the hospital.
It must be remembered that there are a limited number of attorneys qualified to practice maritime law. There are requirements when trying a case under maritime law that differ from other personal injury cases. From what information we have received it is unclear what the outcome of this lawsuit will be. These sorts of suits are greatly dependent upon the facts of the case that will likely remain unknown until the time of trial.
Source: KGNB AM, “Comal County Man Seeks $1M in Damages from Marine Company,” Sep. 10, 2013