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Houston TX Maritime Attorney Argues for New Admiralty Protection for Workers

By Ross Jurewitz on August 24, 2010

Houston‚ Texas maritime lawyer Brian Beckcom recently wrote an article in Texas Lawyer Magazine arguing that the Fairness in Admiralty and Maritime Law Act (FAMLA) may move into the modern era when it comes to protecting offshore workers such as the eleven workers who died on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil platform.  The change created by FAMLA would allow for the families of deceased workers to collect for the pain and suffering they felt prior to dying in the workplace.

FAMLA amends the Death on the High Seas Act (DOTHSA) of 1920 and repeals the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 (LOLA) by permitting dependents to collect non-pecuniary damages as a result of their death on international waters.  DOTHSA and LOLA are currently the primary laws used to determine the economic recovery for grieving families who have lost loved ones while working aboard ships and oil derricks.

According to Beckcom‚ DOHSA fails to provide adequate remedies because if the worker does not have any dependents‚ then the surviving parents cannot collect any compensation for the loss of their child.  In addition‚ LOLA has outlived its’ original purpose because it limits the vessel owner’s liability to the value of the vessel with its’ then pending freight at the time of the casualty‚ unless the vessel owner has knowledge of the circumstances that led to the tragedy.  LOLA was written when ship owners had vessels on the other side of the world delivering cargo where news traveled in terms of days‚ weeks‚ and months rather than seconds and minutes.

By enacting FAMLA‚ the families of injured and deceased workers would still be able to receive compensation where their loved ones did not suffer any monetary loss in terms of medical care or lost earnings.  FAMLA also brings maritime law more in line with common tort and personal injury law.  Future maritime injuries would be treated in a much more straightforward manner.

The importance of FAMLA to San Diego workers cannot be understated.  The same restrictions which hinder injured workers on fishing vessels and shipping tankers in Texas apply to Southern California workers working in the Pacific Ocean.  Californians who have had family members injured or killed while working on the high seas should contact the San Diego maritime accident attorneys at the Jurewitz Law Group to consult with a trained workplace injury lawyer.

If you are in Texas or a oil-rig or shipping employee who has suffered a serious injury‚ please contact Brian Beckcom.  He is a founding partner at Vujasinovic & Beckcom and is board certified in personal injury law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  He is an accomplished writer and expert in Maritime legal issues.

Ross Jurewitz

Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.

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