Texas Jones Act Seamen Attorneys
The Jones Act Seaman is a federal law, formerly known as the Merchant Mariners Act, which governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers for their employee’s work-related injuries. The Jones Act Seaman provides remedies to seamen injured while working on a vessel. This law helps courts decide the compensation for seamen’s injuries throughout Seaman the United States. An injured seaman can recover damages from their maritime employer when the employer or a co-worker’s negligence causes an injury.
An injured offshore worker must prove some negligence or fault on the part of the vessel’s owners, operators, officers, and/or fellow employees or show defect in the vessel, its gear, tackle, or equipment.
Some examples of sustainable bases for Jones Act Seaman cases are:
- Failing to provide a safe place to work, if the unsafe place is the vessel or if it is another place under the employer’s control.
- An unseaworthiness claim may be pursued if the employer is the owner of the vessel, and the injury is caused by an unsafe condition on the vessel.
- A violation of a safety statute causes the injury.
- Failing to provide adequate medical care.
- Negligence of other employees or individuals for which the employer is responsible, including co-workers.
- Failure to rescue or search for a seaman if he jumps or falls overboard
- The vessel was not reasonably fit for its intended use, not a safe place to work and live.
- The vessel was not equipped with appropriate safety gear and equipment.
- The vessel had unsafe recreation facilities
- Failure to maintain a competent crew
- Dangerous conditions arising during the voyage or created by co-workers
A maritime employer owes a seaman a higher negligence duty than in the usual employer-employee relationship, and the employer if its breach of that duty contributed to the seaman’s injury. Even if the seaman assumed a risk of injury, compensation under the Jones Act Seaman is not reduced.
One of the central questions in any maritime injury case is whether the injured party is a seaman, since only a seaman can recover under the Jones Act Seaman. These offshore workers have an employment-related connection to a vessel in navigation and contribute to the vessel’s function or mission.
A seaman under the Jones Act Seaman must be a member of the crew of a vessel such as a tanker, freighter, jack-up rig, semi-submersible, towboat, tug, supply boat, crew boat, barge, lay barge, or fishing vessel, or someone assigned to a fleet of vessels by his employer. The vessel must also be in navigation, there must be more or less permanent connection with the ship, and the worker must be aboard naturally and primarily as an aid to navigation. Sometimes, even a person whose work is covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act may be treated as a Jones Act seaman. A lawyer can help figure out whether someone is a seaman for purposes of the act. The facts of each particular case must be examined closely by an experienced maritime attorney who will understand the ins and outs of the offshore activity the seaman was engaged at the time of injury.
Who is Protected Under the Jones Act?
The Jones Act/Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is a federal law protecting individuals working as merchant marines in the United States when injuries occur. Furthermore, the Jones Act regulates rules on and between waterways and ports in the United States. This act has been revised multiple times.
What Are My Rights with the Jones Act?
Congress mandates rules that protect seamen in the event of injuries, negligence, and unseaworthiness via the Jones Act. If the employer does not provide appropriate medical care as he or she is responsible to do so by law, then the employee is protected through the Jones Act and has legal opportunity to file a claim. Seamen are frequently out on the ocean or other waterways for long time periods and are responsible for being provided basic medical care, food, and shelter.
What is the Claims Process for Filing with the Jones Act?
You only have a limited period of time in which to file claims in order for them to be covered under the Jones Act. It is imperative that you act promptly with the help of an experienced maritime injury attorney. Via the law, Jones Act claims have to be filed no later than 7 days after the injury but it is strongly recommended that you file an injury claim right away after the accident. Consult with your supervisor or captain on the vessel to determine their own procedures for filing an accident.
What Compensation Are You Entitled to Under the Jones Act?
Several different categories of compensation are covered with the federal Jones Act. If you have been hurt, compensation could include physical disability, medical costs, lost wages, fringe benefits, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity and reasonable shelter and food value. In order to get compensation under the Jones Act, you must prove that the negligence associated with another party’s reckless behavior.
You may be eligible to recover compensation under the Jones Act as a result of negligence, unseaworthiness and injuries so long as critical criteria are met. Any individual planning to file suit under the Jones Act must:
- Wait until medical treatment has been obtained
- Finish all treatment for the injury and maintain records.
- Evaluate possible settlement value of the case.
- If you are not able to go back to work, make the decision between filing a suit or settling.
- File a lawsuit in the merest federal or state court.
The waiting time for the period to bring a case to trial could be up to 16 months. The docket in most courts is overloaded and these cases are extremely complex. Having an experienced Jones Act attorney to help you navigate the process, however, is strongly recommended. Experience and knowledge can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case and consulting with an attorney as soon as possible will give you a broad overview of what to expect and answer your key questions associated with filing a legal Jones Act claim.
A Jones Act Seaman claim must generally be brought within three years of the injury. The claim can be filed as an admiralty claim either in federal court or state court, or as a “law” claim in federal court. A lawyer should decide where to file the claim as this choice can affect the amount of the recovery. If you have been injured on a vessel and would like more information about your rights, then contact our experienced maritime lawyers at the Merman Law Firm.
Maintenance and Cure
Seamen injured in the course and scope of their duties are entitled to Maintenance and Cure. If an employer fails to provide maintenance and cure following and accident, it can be liable for additional damages. While maintenance and cure are required, the payment required to satisfy the statutory duty of the ship owner is typically very low. You need to contact an experience admiralty lawyer to make sure you are getting what you are entitled to as maintenance and cure.