Thousands of men and women are currently employed as captains, sailors, crew members, mechanics, and divers aboard sea-bound vessels. While many of these skilled mariners accomplish their work safely, some have sustained serious injuries for which they were not responsible.
Depending on the type of injury and its severity, the recovery process can look bleak. The expenses associated with extensive surgeries, recovery time, and regular physical therapy appointments can start to accumulate over time.
However, there is a way for you to find compensation for your losses. If you have been injured on a vessel, you may be able to recover money to pay for your medical needs under the terms of the Jones Act.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act, also known as the 1920 Merchant Marine Act, is a federal law that allows mariners to receive compensation with a claim on the grounds of negligence. If a sailor, steward, mechanic, or any other type of mariner is injured or becomes sick due to an employer’s negligence, they can pursue monetary compensation for their injuries with the help of a personal injury attorney.
Conditions of the Act
While the Jones Act does provide mariners with access to financial compensation, there are certain conditions that must be met for seamen to qualify for a claim. Some of these conditions include:
- He or she must prove that they are a “seaman.”
- They must be a crew member of a vessel that is either in navigation or that has been otherwise removed from navigation.
Because there is no functional definition of who qualifies as a “seaman,” a personal injury attorney can help you look into the text of court decisions to determine if your particular crew member status is applicable. In general, the seaman status under the act requires that an employee spend at least 30 percent of his or her time aboard the vessel.
What the Act Covers
The Jones Act covers mariners for a number of possible injuries, similar to how land-bound employees are covered for injuries in their workplace. These can be injuries such as slipping and falling, becoming sick or being harmed by defective equipment. Even when the carelessness of a coworker harms another mariner, the employer is still responsible to compensate the injured for their pain and damages.
The Jones Act Vs. Worker Compensation
Before the Jones Act was developed, injured or sick mariners were unable to file for compensation under the state worker’s compensation laws. Thankfully, with the Jones Act in place, mariners can actually find more favorable compensation statutes than those offered through state compensation laws.
Contact Russell & Hill, PLLC
If you are a seaman that has become sick or injured while working aboard your designated vessel, you have the opportunity to pursue compensation for your injuries by filing a personal injury claim. But collecting evidence, doing research, preparing the claim, and filing it against the insurance agency can demand extensive amounts of time and energy. Because the risk of failure is too great to cut corners, we recommend contacting an experienced and proven personal injury attorney.
At Russell & Hill, PLLC, our effective and experienced personal injury attorneys are committed to meeting our clients’ every need. We’ll help you work with doctors, insurance providers, specialists, and investigators to develop and strengthen your claim. We are even willing to take your claim to court.