The maritime industry has a huge economic impact along the Gulf Coast, providing thousands of workers with good paying jobs and helps drive the economies of the states along the Gulf of Mexico. In many of these jobs, the employees work on the water aboard ships such as cruise ships, crew boats, supply boats, lift boats or tugboats (to name a few), as well as on oil rigs and drill ships. If you work on a ship out on the water, you may have special rights afforded specifically to employees who qualify as seaman under the Jones Act. The maritime accident attorneys at Morris Bart have extensive experience in Jones Act seaman rights as well as managing their case from beginning to end and maximizing their recovery.
What is The Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a federal statute that provides a remedy for employees who qualify for seaman status, such as masters, captains, deckhands and other crew members, as well as workers aboard certain oil rigs, who are injured or killed while in the course of their employment due to the negligence of their employers or co-workers.
The Jones Act only provides the seaman a right against their employer and the statute of limitations on a Jones Act case up to three years from the date of the injury. Working aboard a ship as a seaman presents particular hazards and dangers which are generally not present to land based workers, and often seamen suffer very serious injuries that may have been avoided, but for the negligence of their employer or co-workers.
Jones Act protection may also extend to injuries suffered by a seaman while on land, as long as they are in the course of their employment when they are injured. Under the Jones Act, anyone that qualifies as a seaman, whether they are the captain or a galley hand, are entitled to the same rights and protections, regardless of job title.
The Jones Act & Compensation
The Jones Act provides seaman the opportunity to recover things such as medical expenses, lost wages or lost earning capacity, mental anguish and pain and suffering.
In order to present a valid Jones Act case, the employee must be able to qualify as a seaman and must be able to prove some negligence on the part of their employer or co-worker. Unlike a traditional negligence situation however, seaman are only required to prove slight negligence on the part of his employer and only has to exercise slight care in carrying out his duties. This lowered standard exists because of the unique circumstances and perils faced by seaman who work on ships, and as a result the court has a special interest in protecting them.
A Jones Act case may be filed in either state or federal court and also allows the seaman the choice between a judge or jury trial, which is unique within admiralty law.
If you think you may qualify as a seaman and are injured while working, you should call the accident lawyers at Morris Bart as soon as possible so our maritime attorneys can begin to investigate your case and gather evidence that shows what your employer did that caused your injuries. Our accident lawyers will ensure that your rights and interests are protected and will make sure that you are properly compensated by your employer for your injuries.