You can file a Jones Act claim against a shipowner under some circumstances. For example, this type of case could be possible if you suffered an on-the-job injury or a work-related illness as a worker on an oceangoing vessel.
You may be able to prove negligence and recover compensation for your injuries against the responsible party, which could be the boat owner. Other potentially liable parties include your employer, the operator of the boat, or the captain.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act, 46 USC § 30104, is a federal law that gives certain rights to seamen who suffer injuries while working on the open ocean or an ocean-faring vessel. It is part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.
Those who work at sea do not generally qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under state laws. These laws typically help workers pay for medical care and make ends meet when they miss work because of an on-the-job accident or exposure.
Since workers’ compensation laws do not apply to seamen on ocean-faring ships, these individuals often need to use the provisions provided by the Jones Act to get wage loss benefits, medical treatment coverage, and more when they get hurt.
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When the Jones Act Applies
The Jones Act dictates that a seaman can sue the shipowner or another liable party when they suffer injuries on the open water, but the injured party must qualify as a seaman. According to this law, qualifying individuals must:
- Work on a boat in some capacity
- Perform a significant amount of their work tasks on a seafaring vessel
- Support the function of the ship or the accomplishment of its work
The Jones Act could apply to injuries suffered:
- On international waters
- In the Gulf of Mexico
- Off the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama
- On waterways shared by more than one state, including the Mississippi River
Almost any type of substantial vessel could qualify, including oil rigs, fishing boats, cruise ships, and more. When you hire our team to represent you, we will examine the details of your accident and help you understand the Jones Act requirements.
Recovering Damages Under the Jones Act
When a shipowner employs maritime workers, the Jones Act holds them responsible for the safety of these workers. To this end, they must:
- Provide their workers with a safe place to work
- Maintain their boat in a reasonably safe condition
A shipowner or other employer of seamen is also legally responsible for any dangerous conditions caused by their other workers, their captain, or others under their direction.
To seek and recover monetary damages based on a Jones Act claim against the shipowner, the injured seaman will need to prove:
- The boat owner, captain, or crew acted negligently and allowed the dangerous condition or caused the accident to occur.
- They suffered injuries because of this negligence.
- They have financial, physical, and psychological damages as a result.
Because the Jones Act is a federal law, these lawsuits may move through either a state or federal court, although many settle without going to trial.
Examples of Potentially Recoverable Damages Under the Jones Act
A lawyer from our firm may be able to help you recover compensation for your losses through this type of claim. You may be able to hold the shipowner accountable for damages that include:
- Medical care coverage
- Future related medical needs
- Lost income and benefits
- Benefits for short-term or long-term disability or reduced earning capacity
- Additional expenses related to the accident and injuries
- Pain and suffering and other intangible losses
We will spend time reviewing the damages you suffered to value your claim before seeking compensation.
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An Attorney from Our Firm Can Help with Your Jones Act Case
If you were hurt while working on a seafaring vessel, you may have a Jones Act claim against a shipowner or another liable party. You may want to work with a Jones Act attorney to file this claim and pursue the compensation you need to cover your losses and receive lost income.
Our personal injury law firm serves the Gulf Coast area, so our attorneys have experience with the Jones Act and know how to handle these cases. When our team seeks compensation for you as an injured seaman, we also:
- Investigate your accident and document what happened
- Protect your rights
- Manage all communication with the shipowner, insurance companies, and more
- Identify the liable party or parties
- Prepare and file the claim
- Provide supporting evidence
- Value your damages
- Determine all applicable deadlines
- Sue the liable parties if necessary
- Represent your best interests in court
Speak to Our Team About Your Options for Free Today
At the Morris Bart law office, our team of attorneys can evaluate your legal options for free today. We handle Jones Act claims and lawsuits and know how these cases work. Areas we serve include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. We are a contingency fee firm.
Call (800) 537-8185 today to speak with a team member. We will answer your questions and offer advice about holding the shipowner legally liable.
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