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The Jones Act and Maritime Worker Injury Claims

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Workers in the maritime industry such as deckhands, crew members, stevedores, longshoremen, and others can sue a shipping company if they suffer an injury while working on a ship. Laws are in place that specify that maritime workers should receive adequate compensation for financial, physical, or emotional hardships that they undergo while performing duties on navigable waters.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at the Jones Act, and what to expect if you file a personal injury claim under this federal law.

The Jones Act: An Overview

The Jones Act is federal legislation that was enacted on behalf maritime workers who are injured while performing work on a ship. Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the law allows qualifying sailors to receive compensation for the loss suffered due to an injury.

The Act offers legal protection to workers who have become sick or involved in an accident while at work. This provision offers legal recourse against the co-workers and employers whose negligence resulted in the injury at work.

The relatives of a who that died due to the negligent behavior while at sea can file a wrongful death claim based on the Jones Act or a separate federal act called the Death on the High Seas Act. The federal act offers enhanced protection to these workers as compared to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA).

The following three conditions must be fulfilled for an injured seaman to bring a case against the employers or the co-workers:

  • The injury occurred while performing duty on a ship,
  • The injury happened due to the negligence of another co-worker or difficult work conditions, and
  • The injury caused substantial physical, emotional, and/or financial loss.

If the above conditions are satisfied the injured seaman can file a case against the guilty party to receive recompense for the injury. At this point, the services of a professional personal injury attorney can prove invaluable.

A personal injury attorney specializes in cases related to injuries that occur due to the negligent behavior or reckless disregard of safety rules by another. The attorney can gather evidence regarding the case and present it in court to get a favorable outcome.

In the end, keep in mind that the provisions of the Jones Act are specifically applicable to individuals who perform duties on a ship. However, in some cases, it can apply to a worker who is injured while temporarily being assigned elsewhere in service of the ship.  A competent maritime personal injury can assess the case to determine whether the worker is considered a maritime worker for the purposes of the Jones Act and take appropriate actions that result in the best possible outcome of the personal injury case.


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