What Is the Jones Act?
If you’ve been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence while you were working on a vessel at sea, your injuries might be covered under the Jones Act. Enacted by Congress in the 1920s, the Jones Act is a federal law designed to promote shipping by American-owned vessels and to protect the rights of maritime workers who are injured or who suffer an illness while working on a vessel as a crew member.
The legislation also protects maritime workers if the vessel on which they are employed is deemed “unseaworthy.” Typically, unseaworthy vessels are those that do not operate properly, but a vessel can also be considered unseaworthy if the workers are not provided with the proper safety precautions or the correct equipment or tools. In those cases, the workers are endangered by the negligent or careless actions of their employer.
Filing Claims Under the Jones Act
To file a claim under the Jones Act, you must be considered a maritime worker, which means you spend at least 30 percent of your time working on or in a vessel. In addition, the vessel must have been in navigation when your injury or illness occurred, meaning the vessel was afloat, in operation, and capable of movement on the water. The vessel does not necessarily have to be moving in order for you to qualify for a Jones Act claim. For example, if a vessel is docked but still capable of navigation, you may be covered under the Jones Act.
To receive compensation for your injuries or illness under the Jones Act, you must first establish that your damages were due to the negligent acts of another. For instance, if you became injured or ill as a direct result of your employer failing to provide adequate supervision or to take reasonable precautions or other actions, you may be entitled to compensation.
Under the Jones Act, you might qualify for several different types of damages, including medical expenses, lost past and future wages, physical disability, pain and suffering, reasonable value of shelter and food, and reasonable fringe benefits.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured
If you’ve been injured or suffered an illness while working on a vessel, it is important that you seek medical treatment right away and then file an accident report with your employer or supervisor as soon as possible. Under the law, any Jones Act claim must be filed within seven days of your injury, but it is best to file the claim immediately to avoid the risk of losing your right to compensation.
When filing your claim, describe any facts and circumstances that might have caused or contributed to the accident, including slippery surfaces or floors, inadequate lighting, defective or insufficient equipment, co-worker negligence, or unsafe practices and procedures. The more information you can provide, the better your chances of obtaining fair compensation.
Experienced Jones Act Injury Lawyers
If you have been injured or have suffered an illness while working on a maritime vessel, it is in your best interest to have a skilled Jones Act injury lawyer on your side. At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys have extensive knowledge about the complexities involved in admiralty law and the Jones Act, and they will work tirelessly to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation about your case. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.