The Jones Act and Negligent Maritime Employers
The Jones act was established in 1920 as part of the Merchant Marine Act. It was designed to protect seamen who are at a high risk of injury or death while at sea. There are eligibility requirements that must be met before the act can be applied to injury cases.
Before the act was passed seamen’s lives were vastly different. Seamen were subjected to abusive treatment from employers and unsafe work environments. When accidents happened and seamen were injured or even killed there was no path to compensation or justice for the victimized workers. Before the Jones act if you worked at sea, you just assumed the risks of injury, illness, and death as just occupational hazards. Here was no way for seamen to hold their employers accountable for negligent conditions that may have contributed or even caused the accidents.
The Jones act has undergone changes over the years as more and more maritime workers file claims against their employers. Rulings that challenged the definition of certain key concepts of the act have helped to shape the law into what it is today. More and more workers are covered under the act if they work at sea. The Status of seamen and their vessel can make a difference in whether or not the jones act can be used for certain cases. Because the verbiage of the act is vague on certain subjects, maritime lawyers are constantly challenging definitions of status and allowing more workers to be protected by this act.
The jones act is different from workers compensation, and Longshore and Harbor workers compensation. Normal workers compensation covers an employee regardless of what contributed to or caused the accident. To file a workers compensation claim, the injured employee does not need to prove the accident was a result of negligence or unsafe work conditions to receive compensation. The jones act requires an injured worker to prove that the employer was responsible. This does not mean that gross negligence must be proven, even minor negligence on the part of the employer needs to be proven in order to invoke the act.
A seaman can receive significantly more in terms of compensation than normal workers compensation. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney before settling any claims with employers if they are injured at sea. Our attorneys are qualified at determining if fault of the employer can be proven to make sure the correct compensation is awarded to the victims or their families.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED AT SEA AND IS A RESULT OF A NEGLIGANT EMPLOYER OR AN UNSAFE WORKPLACE, CONTACT THE TEAM OF CARABIN SHAW AT 1.800.862.1260 DAY OR NIGHT, 7 DAYS A WEEK FOR YOUR FREE CONSULTATION.