Maritime professions have existed for centuries. The specific job duties performed, as well as the vessels and the equipment employed to complete the task, have evolved and improved significantly in that time.
However, what has not changed is the dangerous and high-risk nature of offshore jobs; severe maritime injuries, as well as death, are shockingly common in the industry. Through a piece of legislation known as the Jones Act, injured seamen are granted benefits analogous to the workers' compensation available to injured employees on land.
On this page, we discuss exactly what the United States Jones Act is, who qualifies for its benefits, and why hiring a Jones Act attorney can prove to be a wise decision for those who find themselves in these traumatizing circumstances.
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is a federal law that governs matters related to American maritime workers as well as American vessels which operate in the navigable waters of the US.
Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act, more specifically known as the Jones Act, specifically deals with the transport and trade of goods in those same waters. Most importantly, the Jones Act also defines distinct rights awarded to the seamen who toil on those ships.
It bears noting that laws that apply within the United States don't always apply to matters that occur at sea, especially if it's in international waters. For this reason, explicit regulations (known as maritime or admiralty laws) like the Jones Act have been put in place to govern these 'blind spots' in the existing legislation.
While some similarities exist between the 'average' workers' compensation claim and a Jones Act claim, there are some important differences.
The most notable difference is that a Jones Act claim is more like a maritime lawsuit in which negligence must be proven. This differs from a workers' comp claim because workers' comp benefits are awarded to most injured employees, regardless of who was responsible for the injury.
Previous to the Jones Act, seamen could receive "maintenance & cure" after suffering an injury on a vessel. Likewise, they could be compensated for damages resulting from the ship's unseaworthiness. However, lawsuits based on maritime negligence were not permitted, a fact that significantly reduced the number of benefits that an injured maritime worker was entitled to pursue.
With the Jones Act provisions in place, injured seamen can seek compensation from their employer via a Jones Act claim. Through such a maritime lawsuit, the plaintiff can be awarded compensation that considers:
These are only some of the damages that can be considered in a Jones Act claim. To learn more about all of the types of damages that could earn you compensation after a maritime injury, contact us today for a free consultation with experienced Jones Act lawyers.
If you're a maritime worker and you've suffered an injury while on-the-job, you're likely wondering if you qualify for a Jones Act claim. It's completely normal to be unsure of your eligibility for such compensation given that, if nothing else, the content we've provided on this page transmits the complexity inherent in such legal claims
Simply put, if you are a seaman and you were injured at sea, it's quite likely that you qualify for a claim regardless of the circumstances.
However, actually achieving the maximum compensation you're entitled to is also likely to require the help of Jones Act attorneys. This is because the defendant in these cases, whether it's your employer or their insurance provider, is likely to 'fight back.'
Defendants will go out and hire the best Jones Act lawyers to defend their own interests against yours. They will argue that you were not completing your duties properly, and that negligence was not a factor in the injury. Perhaps worst of all, they can downplay the nature of your injuries so that the compensation based on medical costs is significantly reduced.
With the understanding of the tactics to be employed by those whom you will file a maritime lawsuit against, your next decision is quite critical. Ultimately, there is only one thing to do - fight fire with fire.
When you hire a Jones Act lawyer, you are hiring a legal professional who is widely experienced in these types of cases. They are intimate with maritime law as well as any recent changes that may have been made to relevant legislation.
The Jones Act has been around for a while, but changes were made to it as recently as 2006, so it's important to work with a legal representative who is up-to-date on such changes. They should also be familiar with ongoing lawsuits of the same nature so that they can learn about legal strategies that have worked and those which have not.
If you are unsure about your eligibility for a Jones Act lawsuit, or even if you are and are searching for the right legal team to represent you, we highly suggest you get in touch with us today.
We will connect you with an experienced Jones Act law firm that can provide you with all the legal information you need in a free consultation. After consulting, you're under no obligation to retain the services. However, you will have earned the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision.
A successful Jones Act claim can be life-changing for victims and their loved ones. Likewise, if such a claim is poorly prepared, it can be absolutely ineffective in getting victims the compensation they need and deserve.
Don't let your limited chances of being made whole to be wasted - contact us today and get started on the path to justice.