Jones Act Claims
If you are a U.S. seamen and have suffered injury while on the job, our experienced Jones Act attorneys are well qualified to assist in determine your rights and remedies under the law. For instance, did you know that unlike most other labor-based workers in other industries across the United States, seamen do not have a statutory set of workers’ compensation benefits to rely upon to compensate them for work-related injuries. Instead, seamen are in a unique position that allows them to elect to bring a lawsuit against his or her employer if they have been injured on the job. If a seaman’s injury was at least caused in part by the fault of his or her employer or a fellow employee, then the Jones Act specifically allows the seaman to sue and recover damages for their injuries. Further, the seaman’s employer is not required to own or operate the ship on which the seaman serves, so long as the seaman’s employer or co-employee caused the injury that the seaman is suffering from.
Under the Jones Act, an injured seaman is only required to show that the negligence of the employer or co-employee played a “featherweight” part in causing his or her injuries. In other words, the burden of proof to recover in a lawsuit is extremely light. Because the Jones Act is an extension of the Federal Employer's Liability Act (“FELA”), a seaman may also be eligible to recover damages for certain types of emotional distress type damages if the seaman was placed in the “zone of danger” of a potential injury. Depending on the circumstances of the incident a physical injury to a seaman may not be necessary for him or her to be entitled to a recovery from the employer.
Coverage under the Jones Act is broad enough that it is even possible to bring a claim through it when a seaman is forced to endure sexual harassment in the work place. In Cash v. Tidewater Marine, Inc. a federal district judge in Galveston confirmed that seamen may bring claims for Jones Act negligence in instances of sexual harassment when the seaman has suffered a physical injury. Tidewater Marine, further confirmed that vomiting, sexual dysfunction, and weight loss all can satisfy the physical injury requirement if assaultive contact occurs.
Courts have also found that a seaman’s employers owe many different types of duties. Notably, employers also owe seamen a “duty to rescue” a seaman who has gone overboard and must make attempts to locate the overboard seaman and bring him back up onto the ship. Once the crew is notified that someone has gone overboard they must make an attempt to locate the lost seaman. If a seaman is not provided the proper medical care, he or she may also bring a suit against the employer for damages resulting from the improper treatment.
If you or a loved one was injured anywhere on The Gulf Coast, Call our Law Firm with offices in Beaumont, Galveston, Houston, Victoria, Rockport, Corpus Christi , the Valley or San Antonio we are here to help ….. Call 1.800.862.1260