Are you a seaman? Do you spend at least 30% of your time working on brown water tugs, or ocean going ships? If so, the in the unfortunate event that you sustain an offshore injury while working, your injury and potential damages may be covered under what is known as the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides injured seamen with benefits that other types of injured workers do not receive. Likewise, it also requires that a seaman’s employer to provide a reasonable safe place to work for the seaman, and use ordinary care in maintaining the vessel that a seaman works on, If a maritime employer, including its employees, the captain of the ship or any of the seaman’s supervisors, fails in these duties, he could be found negligent under the Jones Act.
First, the Jones Act allows injured seamen to sue their employers. In almost any other type of job, workers cannot sue their employers when they are injured – instead, they can recover workers’ compensation benefits. Seamen do not receive traditional workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, they have the right to bring a lawsuit against their employers, and with that lawsuit comes the potential for some big damages. Of course, the seaman will have to show that their employer or co-employee did something wrong which caused the injury, but the Jones Act opens the door to a potentially big payout, depending on the facts surrounding the seaman’s case.
What is more, if the seaman does bring a lawsuit, the Jones Act has a lower threshold that he or she must meet to prove her claim. Under this so called “featherweight” duty, the seaman generally only has to show that the employer or coworker played a small part in causing the seaman’s injury.
Finally, the Jones Act confers a “duty to rescue” on the seaman’s employer. What this means is, if a crew member falls off the ship, the vessel crew has to at least try to find and rescue the crew member, as well as provide proper medical treatment for any resulting injuries.
Overall, the Jones Act is in place to protect the seaman, requires a maritime employer to act responsibly towards the seaman by maintaining a seaworthy and safe vessel. However, to bring a claim under the Jones act, an injured seaman must file his or her claim within three years of the date of the incident. If you are a seaman who has been injured in the line of duty, you may wish to contact an experienced offshore injury lawyer to review the facts of your case. You may find that you have a personal injury case against your employer, based off of the Jones Act, that is worth thousands of dollars.
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- Overview of Cure
- Recovery Through Death on the High Seas Act
- Who Qualifies as a Seaman
- Remedies for Injured Seamen
- Discrimination on the High Seas
- The Rundown on Maintenance and Cure
- The Spiel on Unseaworthiness
- A Few Pointers On Submitting an Oil Spill Claim
- Oil Rig Workers and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act