If you are a maritime worker who has been injured on the job due to the negligence of your employer, fellow crew members or a vessel’s owner, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries under the Jones Act.
Most maritime workers are not covered by state workers’ compensation laws. Instead, there are federal laws, such as the Jones Act, that protect the rights of seamen and other maritime workers who have been injured on the job.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, now known as the Jones Act, allows a “seaman” injured on the job to file claims and obtain compensation for the damages resulting from the negligence of a vessel owner, captain or other member of a vessel’s crew, or the unseaworthiness of a vessel.
Only a seaman can recover damages under the Jones Act. However, the term “seaman” is not defined in the Jones Act. In subsequent rulings, the courts have established a seaman is any individual engaged or employed in any capacity aboard a vessel. Their duties must contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission and have a connection to a vessel in navigation.
Examples of maritime employees who qualify as seamen under the Jones Act include captains, mates, deckhands, engineers, stewards, sailors and many other maritime workers.
If you work on one of these types of vessels, whether on the ocean, in seaports, or on intracoastal lakes, rivers or canals, you may be protected under the Jones Act:
- Cruise ships
- Tug boats
- Drill ships
- Crew boats
- Riverboat casinos
- Fishing and shrimp boats
The Jones Act also protects the legal rights of offshore oil rig workers. According to maritime law, oil rigs are considered vessels.
The Jones Act and Compensation for Injured Maritime Workers
Under the Jones Act, seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to compensation for living expenses while the seaman is unable to work due to injuries, while cure refers to medical expenses related to the seaman’s injuries. In addition, the injured seaman may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, past medical bills, future medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent disability, ongoing physical therapy and diminished quality of life.
In order to collect compensation under the Jones Act, an injured seaman must prove that their injuries were caused by negligence on the part of an employer, coworker or ship owner. As experienced Houston Jones Acts attorneys, we know the ins and outs of the Jones Act and other maritime laws. We possess the expertise and knowledge to guide you through the process, gather the evidence needed to establish your claim, and negotiate the best compensation possible in your situation.
Get Help from an Experienced Houston Jones Act Attorney
Filing a Jones Act claim can be a complex and challenging undertaking. It’s critical to seek assistance from a skilled Houston Jones Act attorney as soon as possible after the injury occurs. The Ammons Law Firm’s maritime accident lawyers have over 20 years of experience successfully resolving Jones Act cases that have occurred in the Gulf Coast region and throughout the United States.
If you were injured while working on a vessel or oil rig and would like to speak with an attorney about a possible Jones Act Claim, contact The Ammons Law Firm without delay.