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September 6, 2014 / englandponticellostclair

An Overview of the Jones Act

England Ponticello & St. Clair is a Southern California law firm that has provided employers with workers’ compensation services for more than three decades. In addition to being well-versed in various areas of employment legislation, England Ponticello & St. Clair has worked on litigation involving the Jones Act.

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a law used to determine which ships within the United States are legally permitted to participate in coastal trade. The act further details how these ships should conduct themselves while operating as U.S. trade ships. The Jones Act also bars foreign-built and foreign-flagged ships from taking part in coast-wise trade within American waters.

A number of additional laws work in connection with the Jones Act. The Passenger Services Act, for example, details how passenger vessels must function in relation to coast-wise trade. The definition of what constitutes a passenger has come into conflict over the years, though any person who is not a member of the ship’s crew or otherwise engaged in on-ship business is generally termed a passenger. The legal definition of tradeable merchandise, meanwhile, has extended to include any item of commercial value.

August 13, 2014 / englandponticellostclair

New Report on California Workers’ Compensation Payments

A California-based law firm, England Ponticello & St. Clair’s attorneys leverage more than 30 years of experience to represent employers and insurance carriers. England Ponticello & St. Clair helps clients with a variety of employment-related issues, including workers’ compensation litigation.

According to a recent report by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California, the state’s self-insured employers and workers comp insurers’ medical loss payments didn’t significantly increase from 2012 to 2013, but investments in Medicare set-aside accounts noticeably increased. Medical loss payments totaled $4.8 billion in 2012 and only rose slightly to $5.2 billion in 2013. Out of those losses, the amount payers put aside for future liability claims rose from $92 million to $129 million.

Self-insured employers and insurers are required to act as the primary payers of Medicare beneficiaries for workers’ compensation claims, and the report noted that the costs associated with medical cost containment programs have steadily grown since 2009. England Ponticello & St. Clair regularly advises employers and carriers on these WCMSA issues.

August 3, 2014 / englandponticellostclair

The Longshore Act Protects Maritime Workers

A Southern California-based law firm, England Ponticello & St. Clair, assists insurance carriers, employers, and administrators in resolving a variety of employment-related issues. England Ponticello & St. Clair also represents clients in cases that fall under the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1927, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides protection for maritime workers who have suffered injury or contracted an illness while working in U.S. waters or adjoining areas, including piers, wharves, docks, and marine railways. Originally, the Longshore Act was designed to cover only workers involved in the loading and unloading of large vessels. However, the Act’s coverage has since expanded to include anyone engaged in maritime employment, such as ship builders, ship repairman, and ship-breakers.

Under the Act, injured or sick maritime workers who can establish that their medical condition was caused by their employment have the right to recover damages, which include medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits for those whose injuries have left them permanently disabled. The Longshore Act also provides death benefits for the families of workers killed while engaged in qualified employment.

July 14, 2014 / englandponticellostclair

The Jones Act and Injured Seamen

For more than 30 years, the law firm of England Ponticello & St. Clair, a professional corporation headquartered in San Diego, California, has represented insurance companies and employers in a broad range of employment-related matters. Operating primarily in the Southern California area, England Ponticello & St. Clair’s areas of practice include California Workers’ Compensation, employment-related issued, civil litigation, serious and willful misconduct, and provisions of the Jones Act.

The Jones Act, known more formally as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 or PL 66-261, is wide-ranging legislation intended to promote and maintain the American merchant marine. One of its provisions addresses the rights of the seamen who crew those vessels. When injured, these seamen have no recourse to the workers’ compensation programs available to land-based workers. The Jones Act, however, specifically extends to seamen the same rights as are legally available to railroad workers for the recovery of damages when they are injured.

To recover damages for injuries suffered on the job, seamen must sue the employer for negligence under the Jones Act. If the seaman can prove negligence on the part of the vessel’s owner, operator, captain, and/or crew, he or she can generally recover damages.

The Jones Act requires the employer to provide a reasonably safe place to work and to maintain the vessel in a reasonably safe condition, under the circumstances surrounding operating a seagoing vessel. As such, the employer becomes liable for an array of unsafe conditions on a vessel, including oil or grease on the deck, improper training of the seaman or crew, failure to provide the proper equipment, and even assault by a co-worker, among many others.

Generally speaking, negligence cases are difficult to win because the burden of proof requires that the plaintiff prove not only negligence, but also that the negligence was the main cause of the injury. Under the Jones Act, though, the plaintiff – the injured seaman – must prove only that the employer’s negligence played any part at all in causing the injury – a much lower burden of proof.

June 25, 2014 / englandponticellostclair

National Association of Medicare Set-Aside Professionals Membership

Focusing primarily on the representation of employers, England Ponticello & St. Clair serves clients in matters ranging from civil to administrative. With decades of experience, England Ponticello & St. Clair litigates matters throughout California and nationwide on federal matters.

England Ponticello & St. Clair maintains membership with numeroud organizations, including the National Association of Medicare Set-Aside Professionals.

Since its inception nearly a decade ago, the National Association of Medicare Set-Aside Professionals (NAMSAP) has aimed to address concerns surrounding Medicare set-aside arrangements. Medicare set-asides are allocated portions of a workers’ compensation settlement that are used to pay future medical expenses associated with job- or accident-related injuries.

The NAMSAP is comprised of insurance carriers, personal injury attorneys, structured settlement professionals, and claims adjusters, among many other professionals who have ties to workers’ compensation cases. Those seeking membership with the organization have access to ongoing education programs, online resources, and a member’s Listserv that can be used to network and discuss topics of interest. Additionally, the NAMSAP hosts events and seminars throughout the year to share best practices that will continuously improve the industry.

June 23, 2014 / englandponticellostclair

Basics of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Based in southern California, the law firm of England Ponticello & St. Clair represents employers and insurance companies in a variety of state and Federal compensation matters. England Ponticello & St. Clair have counseled clients in a number of cases covered under the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Enacted by the United States Congress, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act protects maritime employees from injuries and illnesses caused by employment in United States waters or in nearby areas. The Act covers all maritime workers traditionally involved in the loading, unloading or repairing of vessels.

The federal government mandates these employers to secure appropriate insurance or to acquire approval to self-insure. This insurance covers payment of disability wages at 66.6 percent of the employee’s average weekly pay up to a specified point. Coverage also includes compensation for lost earnings due to severed limbs or incapacitated organs. In the case of employee death, the employer must pay the widow or widower an amount equal to 50 percent of the federally determined average weekly wage or the employee’s full pay, whichever is less.

May 21, 2014 / englandponticellostclair

England Ponticello & St. Clair Provide Maritime Client Representation

Serving employers and insurance clients throughout California, England Ponticello & St. Clair possesses several decades of experience in numerous practice areas. Among the specific areas of practice for which England Ponticello & St. Clair offers representation are maritime matters under the provisions of the Jones Act.

Q: What is the Jones Act?
A: The Jones Act regulates trade for ships that are US registered and whose commercial cargo or passenger route is limited to US departure and arrival locations. Such activities are generally known as “coastwise” trade. The Jones Act also allows for damage claims for seaman.

Q: What are some of the liabilities a maritime employer may have under the provisions of the act?
A: Under the act, maritime employers may have liability for a variety of injuries or negligence that some other employers may not. Some of these include liability for injury while living aboard ship but not “on-shift,” or even while leaving or returning to the ship off duty. Additionally, negligence can be claimed if the employer fails to provide medical treatment or rescue for injury resulting from a fight with another crewman, and multiple other maritime-specific scenarios.

Q: What are some of the damages that can be claimed by a maritime employee under the Jones Act?
A: Whether for injury or death, damages can be awarded for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of support to widows, dependents, and more. More specific information is available by reading 46 United States Code, section 30104.

April 16, 2014 / englandponticellostclair

England Ponticello & St. Clair (EPS) – Overview

Since its inception, defense law firm England Ponticello & St. Clair (EPS) has upheld an unwavering commitment to its clients’ needs, providing the highest degree of representation to carriers and employers across California. From its offices in Los Angeles and San Diego, EPS has become one of Southern California’s premier sources of representation on matters of workers’ compensation, wrongful discrimination, disability retirement, subrogation, and civil litigation. The attorneys at England Ponticello & St. Clair have amassed outstanding records of success in these and other practice areas over the years, and continue to help clients resolve complex cases inside and outside of court.

Widely recognized for its work in litigation, the legal team at EPS also handles Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Arrangements, Medicare analyses, and submittals to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In addition, England Ponticello & St. Clair attorneys frequently appear as invited speakers at legal conferences and share their expertise through articles on some of the most pressing topics in law. To read more about the firm and its services, please visit www.eps-law.com.