Maritime Work Injuries (The Jones Act)

Unlike workers in other industries, maritime employees or “seaman” are not afforded relief under State or Federal workers’ compensation laws. An injured maritime worker’s remedy falls under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (The Jones Act). The Jones Act provides for maintaining the rights of seaman on duty and to protect them from injury while on the job. If a worker suffers an injury as a result of the negligence of the employer or from the unseaworthiness of the vessel, he or she may be entitled to file a claim for damages.

All men and woman working most of the time on the vessel (in navigation) or contributing to the function of the vessel are provided with protection under this law. Unlike the protection provided by the Jones Act, there are other laws that protect workers injured while on shore and not out in the water. The protection provided under the Jones Act extends to various types of “seaman” including:

  • Sailors
  • Deckhands
  • Divers
  • Engineers
  • Drillers
  • Mechanics
  • Captains
  • Mates
  • Stewards
  • Cooks and
  • Fishermen

Because of the conditions, the heavy and awkward size of equipment and gear involved with working on vessels, injuries occur very often. Sometimes, a seaman suffers an injury at work and does not know what it is they need to do first. In times like these, we understand that putting food on the table remains top priority but, without legal counsel an injured seaman runs the risk of never being able to work another day. Not all injuries are compensable because not all injuries can be proven to have resulted from employer negligence. But, there are cases where legal counsel would be able to establish that the injuries to a seaman resulted from lack of proper safety training, failure to provide sufficient manpower, failing to provide working equipment and tools and failing to provide warnings to employees of the existence of hazards known to the employer. In these instances, you may have a sustainable claim under the Jones Act.

This is why we have dedicated ourselves to representing injured seamen and their families in these times of crisis. There are specific time requirements that must be met when filing a claim under the Jones Act. Therefore, you should consult an attorney with experience in Jones Act litigation as soon as possible after a work-related accident.

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