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What is the Jones Act and how does it protect you?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2023 | Maritime Law

Let’s face it – every occupation has its share of risks and hazards, and maritime jobs are no different. If you are hurt or if you contract an illness that is related to your maritime work, you may be entitled to financial restitution from your employer.

The Jones Act is a federal law that protects seamen who are hurt or killed at work. This law allows an injured maritime worker or their family to pursue financial restitution for damages that are attributable to employer negligence or unworthy vessels.

Understanding the scope of the Jones Act

The Jones Act protects “seamen” who work aboard a vessel. This can be an engineer, a captain, a deckhand or any other crew member. Per this act, you may sue for the resulting injuries if the vessel owner is negligent or if the vessel is unseaworthy.

Here are three elements you must satisfy to qualify for compensation under the Jones Act:

  • You must be a worker on a vessel that operates in navigable waters
  • You must contribute to the vessel’s mission and function
  • You must have a substantial connection to the vessel both in terms of nature and duration

Some of the damages you can pursue include lost wages, medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses and pain and suffering among other damages.

So, what should you do if you are hurt at work?

The first step you need to take if you sustain an injury while working on a vessel is to seek treatment. While at it be sure to document your injuries and keep a record of your treatment. Next, you should make your employer aware of your injuries. Finally, you need to file your claim within the appropriate time. Getting legal guidance can help you learn more.