Bodies of Four Seamen Killed in Corpus Christi Explosion Recovered

Bodies of Four Seamen Killed in Corpus Christi Explosion Recovered

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times is reporting that the U.S. Coast Guard and private salvage drivers have recovered the bodies of all four seamen killed in last Friday’s (August 21st) sinking of the dredging vessel Waymon L. Boyd. The Boyd was lost after it struck an underwater pipeline near the intersection of Lantana and Up River Road, caught fire, and sank in the adjacent shipping channel.

The accident occurred shortly before 8:00 a.m. when the Boyd struck an underwater natural gas pipeline, setting off an explosion and causing the Boyd to catch fire. Coast Guard and Corpus Christi officials reported that of the 18 people known to be on board or near the site of the explosion, 5 had been airlifted to hospitals in San Antonio for treatment of burns; 1 was treated locally, 8 were uninjured and 4 were missing and presumed to have been lost when the Boyd sank. The cause or causes of the accident are under investigation. According to public records, the four deaths make the loss of the Boyd marks the deadliest commercial dredging accident in the recent history of Corpus Christi and Nueces County.

Commercial shipping accident injuries are covered under the Jones Act

Although Texas ports are among the busiest in the country major accidents involving serious injury or death of a member of a ship’s crew are relatively uncommon, with many such injuries occurring while a ship is docking or undocking. Regardless of the circumstances of such an accident, any member of a ship’s crew who is injured in an accident while the ship is underway, or preparing to make underway, on “navigable waters” that are used for interstate or international commerce are eligible for a special Workers Compensation benefits under what is commonly known as the Jones Act.

Unlike “regular” or “traditional” Workers Compensation insurance, which is regulated and administered by the state, the Jones Act is a federal Workers Compensation program because ships’ crew members generally work on waters that lie outside the jurisdiction of a state. Due to the dangers inherent to working in commercial shipping, Jones Act benefits are typically more generous than those available to land-based workers. Key provisions of the Jones Act include:

  • Any ship’s crew member injured “on the job,” including the ship’s captain and supervisors, can file a claim for compensation under the Jones Act whereas many states limit benefits paid to supervisors.

  • The maximum wage and salary benefit in most Workers Compensation cases is limited to 50% of the injured worker’s weekly wages. Jones Act lost wages benefits are typically 60% of an injured seaman’s wages.

  • Most Workers Compensation benefits expire after two years. Jones Act benefits can extend for the lifetime of an injured seaman.

  • The Jones Act usually allows a seaman to claim partial disability, even if that seaman is able to return to shipping-related employment following treatment. Injured seamen and their families are also allowed to claim “indirect” losses such as pain and suffering or compensation for changes in lifestyle due to an injury.

  • The Jones Act allows an injured seaman to file a lawsuit against their employer, which is not allowed by state Workers Compensation law.

Because of its special provisions, Jones Act benefits are often significantly higher than those available under state Workers Compensation programs. However, to make sure that you receive all the compensation you deserve you will need the services of an experienced Jones Act lawyer, such as the maritime workers injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm.

When you contact our firm there is never a charge for us to review the facts in your case or for you to speak with our Jones Act lawyer to discuss the options that may be available to you. Should you decide to pursue a lawsuit and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement we are prepared to win for you.