The Jones Act applies to seamen injured on ships, offshore oil rigs, barges, tug boats, tankers, riverboats, shrimp boats, trawlers, fishing boats, ferries, water taxis, and all other vessels on the ocean or intra-coastal rivers and canals. The Jones Act also applies to commercial divers and other underwater personnel.
The law stipulates that any worker who spends more than 30 percent of their time on a vessel in navigation qualifies as a seaman according to the Jones Act. An employee that does not qualify for a Jones Act claim may instead be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Act.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, contact attorney Chris Davis and the team at Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000 to schedule your free legal consultation.
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 Davis Law Group or call our downtown Seattle office at (206) 727-4000.
Worries and Obstacles by Jones Act Claimants
Unfortunately, injured seamen face numerous obstacles in the event they want to pursue a Jones Act injury claim with their employer. The insurance companies involved will dispute the claim and make life difficult on the injured person.
Injured workers face a number of worries when considering a Jones Act claim, including:
- How to report the injuries in a Jones Act claim
- Whether their employer will follow through and provide benefits guaranteed under the Jones Act and maritime law
- How filing suit may affect their standing with their maritime employer
- How to make a living and support their family while pursuing a Jones Act claim
Many times, an employer and/or insurer will attempt to dispute a claim using the following reasons:
- There were no witnesses to the accident
- The injury was not reported immediately
- Inconsistencies exist between the accident report and the medical records
- The injured seaman refused to give the insurer a statement
By hiring a Jones Act or maritime lawyer, victims can focus on their recovery while the attorneys handle the legal side of things. For a free case evaluation with the attorneys at Davis Law Group, call (206) 727-4000.
Common Maritime Injuries
Seaman that are injured on the job often face grueling and life-changing injuries. Their lives may never be the same, and they are often left with chronic pain and an inability to live their life as normal.
Any number of injuries may occur, including:
- Slip and fall injuries. Vessel docks are a prime location for serious slip and fall injuries. The footing is often uneven and wet, and can easily cause broken bones, concussions, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and on occasion, death.
- Fishing injuries. Some of the most dangerous jobs on the water, commercial fishermen (shrimpers, crabbers, lumpers, etc.) are at risk every day. Their injuries may be crush injuries, or neck and back injuries sustained from lifting heavy loads.
- Dock and pier accidents. These locations can be hectic and dangerous, and serious injuries can happen in the blink of an eye.
Contacting a Maritime Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have experienced a Jones Act or maritime-related injury, contact a personal injury attorney today. Experienced Seattle personal injury lawyers at Davis Law Group offer the knowledge, resources and experience to help you with you case.
Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started with a free case evaluation.