The rights of injured seamen and other maritime workers are protected under many different legislative acts. One of the most important of these is the Jones Act, passed by Congress in 1920. The Jones Act provides for maintenance (living expenses) and cure (medical expenses) payments to injured or sick maritime workers as well as giving seamen the right to seek compensation for on-the-job injuries caused by the negligence of a vessel owner, employer or crew member.
Do You Qualify as a Seaman under the Jones Act?
To seek compensation under the Jones Act, the injured worker is required to be a “seaman.” However, the law does not define what a seaman is. In the years following the passage of the Jones Act, court rulings have established that a seaman is any individual employed on a vessel in navigable waters, who spends at least 30 percent of the time working aboard a vessel, and whose duties aboard the vessel must contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission.
This can include the captains, mates, deckhands, engineers, stewards, fishermen or sailors who work on crew boats, cruise ships, supply boats, barges, dive boats and fishing vessels.
If you are a maritime worker who has suffered work injuries and are wondering if you qualify for Jones Act protections as a seaman, the smart thing to do is speak with an experienced Houston Jones Act attorney who can clearly explain your rights and help you determine if you should pursue legal action.
The Ammons Law Firm has been successfully representing injured seamen in cases involving the Jones Act for more than 20 years, and we would be glad to discuss the details surrounding your injury and determine if your work description meets the definition of being a “seaman.”
The Jones Act Covers Acts of Negligence
Like any employee at any job, a seaman expects their vessel to be a safe workplace. If an employer or vessel owner fails to maintain a safe workplace and a worker becomes injured as a result, that worker, if they meet the definition of being a seaman, has a right under the Jones Act to seek compensation for their injuries. This can include compensation for:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Most seamen who become ill or injured onboard a vessel – regardless of who was at fault – have a right to receive maintenance (living expenses) and cure (benefits). Only under certain conditions can a seaman be denied maintenance and cure benefits.
If you have been denied maintenance and cure benefits, it’s important to seek the help of a skilled Houston maritime attorney to ensure your rights as a seaman under the Jones Act are being protected. You can still collect maintenance and cure benefits while pursuing a Jones Act lawsuit for an injury due to the negligent act of a vessel owner, employer or fellow crew member.
Get Help Protecting Your Rights as a Seaman under the Jones Act
Because of the complexity of laws like the Jones Act, it’s important not to sign any documents or agree to a settlement before speaking with a qualified Houston maritime injury attorney. You have rights as a seaman under the Jones Act, and The Ammon Law Firm is dedicated to protecting those rights.
If you are a seaman who has been injured while on the job, contact The Ammon Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly experienced Houston Jones Act attorneys. We’ve been protecting the rights of injured maritime workers across the Gulf Coast and United States for more than 20 years. Let us help you get the compensation that you’re entitled to.