What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a federal statute that makes provision for injured seamen to sue their employers for the damages they suffer due to a work-related injury. For the Jones Act to apply to you, you must qualify as a seaman. In general, workers who spend more than 30 percent of their time on a vessel in navigation qualifies as a seaman, according to the Jones Act. If you do not qualify for the Jones Act claim, you may be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act instead.
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The Jones Act applies to seamen injured on:
- Tug boats
- Water taxis
- Shrimp boats
- Fishing boats
- All other vessels on the ocean or intracoastal canals and rivers and canals
The Jones Act also applies to commercial divers and other underwater workers. Even if an accident occurs on land, the Jones Act may still apply if the worker is assigned to a vessel but is working on land temporarily.
How Does the Jones Act Benefit Injured Seamen?
The Jones Act offers a wide range of benefits to injured maritime and offshore workers. It is similar, but also dissimilar, to workers’ compensation. Under the Jones Act, injured employees must prove that their employers were negligent. Claims filed under this act may offer comparatively larger monetary settlements.
A Jones Act lawyer can protect your rights and fight to obtain compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or impairment
- Diminished quality of life
Statute of Limitations
In Jones Act claims, the statute of limitations allows until three years after the accident to file a claim. However, it is crucial to file a claim much sooner than that in most circumstances. If you need to pursue a claim under the Jones Act, a qualified and experienced maritime attorney can help.
Jones Act vs. Workers’ Comp
Jones Act lawsuits are, in fact, very different than workers’ compensation claims and require a competent lawyer. Favorable results in workers’ compensation claims provide cash settlements for medical bills and some of your lost wages. However, if you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, you might be able to collect compensation for all of your losses and expenses. This can include cash money for pain and suffering, the cost of past and future medical expenses, and an amount for past and future lost wages and fringe benefits.
Indeed, claims filed under the Jones Act provide comparatively more significant cash settlements than civil claims. Plus, additional damages may be covered if negligence was involved. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or wrongful death while on a maritime job, attorneys can help you get the fair compensation you deserve. Maritime and admiralty lawyers have the knowledge and experience needed to help you maximize the return on your claim. An attorney will assess and evaluate your complaint carefully and thoroughly. Then, the lawyer will explain your legal options and assist you in pursuing compensation for your injuries.