Working at sea can be lucrative and exhilarating, but it is also a career that is fraught with dangers. Offshore jobs are often fast-paced and risky, and workers may be leagues away from medical care.
If a sailor suffers an injury due to another person’s negligence, then recovering compensation can be a legally complex process. In certain cases, the Jones Act allows sailors to make claims against their captains, crewmembers or the boat owner.
In the meantime, read on to learn more about the Jones Act:
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act – previously called the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 – serves as one of three key pillars of the United States Merchant Marine law, according to the American Maritime Congress. The Jones Act governs a variety of important legal issues pertaining to maritime commerce and coastal shipping.
Perhaps most important, the Act protects the rights of seamen who fall ill or suffer injuries while performing work-related duties. It also allows sailors and seamen to file claims against their captain, crew members or the boat owner if their injuries result from negligence.
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What Are the Requirements of the Jones Act?
If you were injured while at sea, there are several qualifications that you must meet in order to file a claim under the Jones Act. In particular, you must be able to prove that you are a seaman under the Jones Act definition, that the vessel was in navigation, and that you were contributing to the work of the vessel. You will also need to prove that you spend at least 30 percent of your time on a vessel or fleet of vessels.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Claims related to offshore accidents are legally complex matters, and the Jones Act is not easy to navigate alone. Even if you meet all the requirements of the Jones Act, the ship owner or captain may deny liability or look for legal loopholes.
Like most injury claims, insurance adjusters may ask leading questions to manipulate claimants into admitting partial or complete fault. The defendant may try to get you to sign a general release, in which case you would not be able to pursue damages. Even if the defendant offers a settlement, it may not be enough to pay for your time off work, medical expenses and other losses.
A personal-injury attorney can help you avoid the common pitfalls involved in Jones Act claims. However, it is critical that you hire a lawyer who is well-versed in the Jones Act.
A New Orleans injury lawyer from Morris Bart can evaluate your case to determine if you may have valid grounds for a claim. We can gather evidence, talk to witnesses, handle correspondence with insurance companies and aggressively fight for the maximum compensation. Call 800-537-8185 to schedule a consultation.
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