Public Vessels Act for Maritime Claims in Houston Texas
The Public Vessels Act (PVA) is a federal maritime law that allows legal action against the United States for damages caused by one of its public vessels. Prior to the enaction of this Act, the United States government enjoyed sovereign immunity and could not be sued for personal injuries or wrongful deaths that occurred on or because of its public vessels. The PVA applies in cases of injury occurring while employed by the government, or onboard a government owned or operated vessel. The Public Vessels Act has a sister Act, the Suits in Admiralty Act, which applies to private vessel owners. Other Acts, like the Jones Act, have provisions to cover seamen in civilian employment. The PVA specifically applies to maritime workers injured on a government vessel.
Maritime Worker Protections
Maritime workers offshore are not guaranteed the same federal workers compensation protections that apply to the civilian job force in the United States. A person is considered a maritime worker if they spend a significant amount of time working as a seaman aboard a vessel in navigation.
Without protection from US labor laws, multiple maritime workers compensation acts were created to help injured maritime workers. Some of these acts include:
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)
- Unseaworthy Vessel Doctrine
- Maintenance and Cure
- Jones Act
Despite these maritime protection laws in place, the United States government enjoyed complete immunity from maritime lawsuits for damages caused by public vessels. The Public Vessels Act helped to fill that void, created specifically to allow legal action against the US government for injury caused by a government owned or operated vessel.
Maritime work can be dangerous, and the treacherous work environment can lead to injury and death. If you have been injured in a government-paid maritime job, contact the attorneys at Richard J. Plezia & Associates for more information on using the Public Vessels Act for Maritime Claims in Houston, Texas. A condensed list of maritime injuries can include:
- Back injuries: Back injuries are not often life-threatening, but they can severely limit the ability of seamen to do their jobs. Treating back pain can be an arduous process involving a combination of surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Burns: These injuries can be among the most severe, with long-term physical and emotional scars. Burn treatment is very painful and can include skin graphs and plastic surgery. Scarring and disfigurement are often permanent.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI): Injuries to the spine can lead to paralysis and loss of limb function. SCI’s are the main cause of paraplegia and quadriplegia. These are career ending and life altering injuries.
- Brain injuries: Workers who suffer traumatic brain injuries can have problems with long-term cognitive and neurological functions. Some symptoms of brain injuries include loss of vision, chronic headaches, migraines, and poor memory.
- Amputations: Working with large, heavy equipment requires proper training and proper maintenance. When ignored, the equipment becomes a danger that may lead to loss of limb. Crush injuries can harm a leg or arm badly enough that amputation is the only recourse.
- Crush injuries: Similar to amputations, crush injuries are often the result of poor operation or maintenance of equipment. Crush injuries are one of the top reasons for maritime employee death.
- Orthopedic injuries: When the bones, tissue, or joints are injured, the short- and long-term effects can range from minor to severe.
Maritime Injury Attorney
What will my maritime attorney from Richard J. Plezia & Associates do for me? As your attorneys, our focus is threefold. First, we work to keep your government or civilian employer from taking advantage of you. Second, we level the playing field in tough cases. Finally, we answer your questions throughout the process. Maritime law is fairly complex, including the Public Vessels Act for maritime claims in Houston, Texas. If you have been injured on the job, contact us today. We can take your call and hear about your case right over the phone. 1-800-428-1853.