Maritime Lawyers Fighting For You

Maritime Workers EbookWorking on and around boats and rigs, you know the dangers that come along with your job. You took the job willingly and understand that it comes with inherent risks. However, it is the responsibility of your employer to minimize these risks.

The explosion on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon on April 22, 2010 demonstrates what can happen if the proper precautions have not been taken. Before you hire an attorney, do your homework. The attorneys at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. have years of experience in Maritime cases and will fight to protect your rights.

Maritime claims that we handle include:

Maritime Piracy Claims

Modern day pirate attacks are not uncommon. Crewmembers who experience them are often left with physical and emotional injuries. Our maritime piracy attorneys help victims of these attacks obtain financial compensation, no matter where the attack occurred.

Jones Act Claims

Maritime / Jones Act Worker claims, Longshoreman 3rd Party Claims and Seaman’s Wage Claims are complicated and often difficult cases to prove. In addition, you only have a small window of time to act on a claim. If you miss this window, your case will hold little to no value, leaving you without the help you need. At SMSH, we act swiftly to bring you the relief you are entitled to.

Maintenance and Cure

Maintenance and cure payments are one of a seaman’s most basic legal rights. This compensation covers medical bills and daily living expenses while the injured worker is recovering. If your employer is refusing to pay, our attorneys can help you explore legal avenues to get the compensation you are owed.

Unseaworthiness Claims

Under the Jones Act, vessel owners are obligated to provide a safe and secure ship. When this isn’t the case and a seaman is injured, he has legal recourse to seek compensation from the vessel owner.


The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act allows longshoremen, dockworkers and other maritime workers that don’t qualify as Jones Act seamen to seek compensation for injuries sustained on the job.


When a seaman dies in international waters because of negligence, his family can seek compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act. Benefits are available to spouses, children and other dependent relatives of the deceased worker.


The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act extends the protections of the LHWCA to employees who are injured or killed while working on offshore job sites on the Outer Continental Shelf.

Commercial Diving

Commercial divers face serious risks on the job. When they are injured or killed, compensation is provided for by laws such as the Jones Act and LHWCA. Our commercial diving attorneys can help you determine the right legal recourse.

Offshore Injuries

The offshore injury attorneys at SMSH help workers injured or killed in any type of offshore accident, including explosions and fires, falls, equipment malfunctions, and more.


Crewmembers can be any person who is part of a team working on common goal on a vessel. There are many different jobs that qualify you as a crewmember.


Deckhands often have little to no experience before getting a job on a vessel. They perform many different tasks and are at high risk for injuries due to the often strenuous nature of these tasks.

Oil Rig Drillers

Oil rig drillers are consistently exposed to the elements, strenuous work and operating complex equipment, all of which can lead to serious injury if proper precautions are not taken by their employers.


As entry-level workers on oil rigs, roustabouts typically perform manual labor jobs with little to no training. This is a very hectic and demanding job that leaves the worker at high risk for repetitive stress injuries, fall accidents, equipment-related accidents and more.

Cold Exposure Injuries

Workers at sea are at risk for cold exposure injuries if the become submerged in frigid waters. Hypothermia and frostbite are the most common injuries, but cold exposure can also quickly lead to drowning.

Common Maritime Injuries

The list of injuries seamen and other maritime workers sustain is long. However, the following make up the most serious injuries sustained while working at sea:

  • Crushed finger, arm, leg or foot
  • Deep cut or laceration
  • Broken finger, hand, arm, leg, foot or back
  • Drowning or near drowning
  • Torn muscles or ligaments
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Injured back and/or neck, including herniated discs and strains

These injuries can end the career of a sailor, seaman, or any other maritime worker. Due to the physical demands of working at sea, severe injuries to the hands, arms, legs or back can be catastrophic. Unable to work, you and your family may struggle to get by. If you have been injured, you do not have to wait for your insurance company to settle your claim or for your employer to give you the compensation you deserve. You need a team of professionals to fight for your rights.

We Fight to Protect Your Rights

At Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. we have over 100 years of combined experience in Maritime/Jones Act cases. The following is a list of the diverse groups of people we represent:

  • Seamen
  • Rig and Platform Workers
  • Barge Workers and Crews
  • Jack-up Rig Workers and Crews
  • Supply Boat Workers and Crews
  • Tankers, Freighter & Other Ocean Going Crews
  • Offshore Platform Workers
  • Responsible for Your Safety

Your employer is responsible for ensuring that your workplace is as free from hazards as possible. The following is a list of events and oversights that often lead to unnecessary injuries:

  • Falling overboard
  • Slippery decks
  • Unseaworthy vessels/boats
  • Unsecured loads
  • Collisions
  • Lifting, pulling, or falling injuries
  • Injuries sustained while boarding or leaving a vessel or rig

Many of the injuries and deaths resulting from the above could have been prevented: if only proper procedure was taken, if only the equipment was well maintained, if only your supervisor was doing his job. These if only’s can cost you your career.

Our attorneys represent injured workers and their families in serious injury and wrongful death claims governed by the Jones Act and all other maritime laws. If a member of your family has been seriously injured or killed as a result of a maritime accident or offshore injury, it is extremely important that you get legal advice before you contact the employer or its insurance company. Representing injured seamen, sailors, and offshore workers has always been at the heart of our law practice. Since the inception of SMSH, our attorneys have repeatedly obtained positive results for seamen with Jones Act and general maritime law claims.

Areas We Serve

Though Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. is based in Texas, we handle personal injury cases throughout the United States and all over the world and have done so for over 50 years. We handle cases in: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

If you think you may have a maritime law claim, please call us at 1-800-917-1318. We are a maritime law firm and we will confidentially speak with you about your injury and answer your questions about maritime law. No matter where you live, SMSH can help you get the help you need.