Maritime workers or seamen working in the merchant marine face a particularly high risk of on-the-job injuries. When you’re out at sea, it is a lot more difficult to get the medical attention you need, when you need it. If you are a maritime worker, it is important you know your legal rights. The law offers several remedies to make sure that injured maritime workers get the appropriate care and compensation after suffering an injury on the job. An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options in such cases and help you obtain the compensation you need and rightfully deserve.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is officially titled the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. It came to be called the Jones Act after Senator Wesley Jones who sponsored it. The act was passed in response to concerns about the health of the Merchant Marine and to establish protections for injured sailors. Prior to the Jones Act, sailors who were injured on the job had few options for recovering damages or getting assistance. The Jones Act established a system of benefits for seamen.
Types of Compensation
The Jones Act states that any sailor who is injured at sea is entitled to “maintenance and cure” meaning the sailor’s employer must pay him or her a daily stipend and provide medical care to treat the injury. In addition, sailors can also sue for damages if their injuries were caused by the ship owners’ or employers’ negligence. An example of such negligence is when sailors are forced to work on “unseaworthy” or poorly maintained vessels. Families of deceased sailors may also seek compensation for wrongful death in such cases.
In certain cases, when a seaman’s injury is caused by another employee or an independent contractor aboard a vessel, it may be possible to pursue a third-party claim against the independent contractor, in addition to making the Jones Act claim. An experienced and knowledgeable Jones Act lawyer can help an injured sailor and his family identify all possible sources of recovery.