Crewmen and other types of sea vessel workers are constantly exposed to high risk of suffering personal injury on the job. All maritime workers who are employed as seamen, crewmembers or commercial fisherman are protected under the Jones Act of 1920 – also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 – which provides comprehensive coverage to maritime employees who are injured or killed as a result of their own employer’s negligence.
Crewmembers working aboard sea vessels (including ships, boats, barges, tug boats, commercial fishing vessels, crab boats, cruise ships, tour boats, and sea tankers) in traversable bodies of water are entitled to compensation for damages under the Jones Act in the event of injury or death that resulted from the negligence of their employer.
Maritime Employees Covered by the Jones Act
All claims of injury and/or death made by maritime employees or their families should be evaluated for potential coverage under the Jones Act. If you are unsure about whether you are covered by the Jones Act, it may be in your best interest to contact a qualified attorney who understands the Jones Act and maritime law in order to explore your legal rights and discuss your options for financial compensation.
Examples of the types of maritime workers who are afforded coverage by the Jones Act include:
- Ship Captains
- Ferry Workers
- Cargo Ship Workers
- Wheelhouse Workers
- Maintenance Workers
- Fish Processors
- Chief Stewards and Cooks
When an injured maritime worker or seaman files a suit for personal injury, there are three possible grounds of recovery that may apply to the case. They are:
- The Unseaworthiness Doctrine
- Maintenance and Cure
- Claim under the Jones Act
Each of these grounds of recovery can affect the amount and type of compensation that may be available to an injured maritime worker. The specific facts and details which are unique to an individual's case will typically determine which of the grounds are applicable. Our attorneys can help you and your loved ones better understand your legal rights and how these factors might affect your claim.
Types of Damages Recoverable Under the Jones Act
Maritime employees who are injured or killed as a result of their employer’s negligence often suffer significant and life-altering damages and losses. Some of the types of damages that are recoverable under the Jones Act include:
- Past and Future Wage Loss
- Medical Expenses and Rehabilitation
- Occupational Training or Re-Training
- Past and Future Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium
In most cases, legal action under the Jones Act allows for significantly greater compensation to victims of maritime negligence than under the Longshore Harbor Worker Act or State Workers Compensation Acts. For injured maritime workers, it is extremely important to understand the differences between claims under the Jones Act compared to claims under Washington state's workers' compensation laws. Click here to learn more about the fundamental differences between these two types of injury claims.
If you believe you may be entitled to financial compensation under the Jones Act of 1920 – also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 – contact the attorneys at Davis Law Group online or call our downtown Seattle office at 206-727-4000.