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Jones Act Law

Have you suffered from an injury or illness on a maritime vessel? The Jones Act provides special protection for water transport workers, including the right to file a lawsuit against their employer when they are hurt on the job. You will need a lawyer who understands the Jones act, familiar with worksite injuries, and has experience fighting for maritime workers to obtain compensation for your injuries.

Willie D. Powell is an experienced personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge of maritime law. Reach out immediately if you have suffered an injury or illness due to another person’s negligence while working on a ship, boat, or other marine vessels. Compensation may due for lost wages, medical bills, and more. What is the Jones Act and how do these provisions provide enhanced protection for maritime workers?

Maritime Injuries

Seamen are at an increased risk of suffering from illness or injury while on the job. The CDC reports that an average of 11,000 maritime injuries occur every year on ships, barges, boats, and other navigable vessels.

The most common include injuries to the upper body, lower extremities, and the back. These injuries have the potential to cause extensive long-term physical, emotional, and financial damages.

What is the Jones Act?

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, was enacted by the United States Federal Government in 1920. This act includes laws and regulations that provide protection for sailors, crew members, and/or surviving relatives in the event of an accident.

Rights Under the Jones Act:

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, was enacted by the United States Federal Government in 1920. This act includes laws and regulations that provide protection for sailors, crew members, and/or surviving relatives in the event of an accident.

  • Reasonably Safe Worksite
  • Right to File a Lawsuit Against Employer
  • Right to Damages from Lack of Payment
  • Maintenance and Cure

The Jones Act protects employers by allowing them to sue their employers for damages in the event that negligence occurs. There is an extensive list of potential forms of negligence that may be covered under this act.

Examples of Negligence Under the Jones Act:

  • Inadequate Training of Crew Members
  • Safety Violations
  • Insufficient Management/Supervision
  • Failure to Provide Sufficient Tools and Equipment

Unsafe conditions could include a lengthy list of potential issues, including improper cargo storage, inadequate hoists, lack of food, or other dangerous circumstances.

What is the Jones Act?

Jones Act Attorney: Who is Covered Under the Jones Act?

Any individual who performs work on a marine vessel (30% of the time minimum) or directly contributes to vessel operations is protected by the Jones Act.

A vessel is defined as any structure that is in use, or that is capable of being used for water transportation. This includes ships, boats, barges, platforms, etc. The Jones Act protects maritime workers on all bodies of water, including rivers, oceans, lakes, etc.

The Jones Act Applies to:

  • Sailors
  • Deckhands
  • Mates
  • Captains
  • Pilots
  • Mechanics
  • Cooks
  • Other Applicable Parties

Anyone who spends time on a navigable vessel and/or contributes to its operation is covered under the Jones Act.

Jones Act Reporting Criteria

There are certain criteria that must be met in order to be covered under the Jones Act. You must report your injury to your employer or supervisor immediately after it occurs. Federal law requires Jones Act claims to be made within 7 days that the workplace injury occurred.

Jones Act Employer Responsibility

The Jones Act does not require the employer to be solely responsible for the injuries incurred. An individual is covered under the Act if the employer made any contribution to the incident and/or resulting injuries.

What Compensation is Available Under the Jones Act?

What Compensation is Available Under the Jones Act?

You may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act if another person’s negligence resulted in an injured, illness, or disability. Loved ones may also be entitled to compensation in the event that a seaman dies as a result of negligence.

The Jones Act provides maritime workers with the right to sue their employer for compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and additional recovery costs.

Past and Future Medical Expenses

You have a right to file a claim for past, current, and future medical expenses. This may include the cost of previous and anticipated surgeries, rehabilitation, and additional treatment costs. This also includes the cost of transportation to and from medical appointments, medications, and more.

Individuals who suffer from serious illnesses and injuries after dealing with complications, including pain and suffering, that are damaging to their quality of life. Pain and suffering include the devastating physical, mental, and emotional aftermath caused by your condition. This may include stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.

The Jones Act allows maritime workers to sue for any additional costs caused by their injury, including lost wages. The Jones Act also allows workers to sue for punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to the damages incurred and based on the circumstances of the case. The amount of compensation awarded for these damages is at the discretion of the court system.

One of the most important elements of the Jones Act is the right to compensation for maintenance and cure. This entitles injured workers to compensation for living expenses, including food, rent, transportation, and medical treatment until maximum medical improvement is achieved.

The amount that an individual is entitled to under the Jones Act will depend on a range of factors that are unique to each case. Compensation for medical bills lost wages, pain, suffering, and punitive damages have the potential to result in large settlements.

You will need to contact a lawyer who specializes in these cases to ensure that you receive the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. An experienced Jones Act Lawyer will have a thorough understanding of the Jones Act, including punitive damage and maintenance and cure statutes. This knowledge allows your lawyer to fight for all of the money that you deserve.

Do I Need a Jones Act Attorney?

Maritime injury cases are complex and can be confusing for the average attorney. You will need a Jones Act Attorney to help you navigate the maritime injury claims process. These cases can be complex
The average legal aid may be unaware of the additional benefits that are provided under the Jones Act.

These benefits provide substantially more compensation than regular worker’s compensation cases. This makes it imperative that you choose an attorney who specializes in these complex laws.

Do Not Sign Any Paperwork

You should not sign any documents for your employer regarding the accident. You are required to report incidents to your employer, but you are not required to fill out a report without legal guidance. Speak with a maritime lawyer at William D. Powells before signing any documentation.

Do Not Accept a Settlement

Your employer or the insurance company may try to convince you to settle your case without a lawyer. This is especially true in cases where the damages are worth far more than their offer.
It can be tempting to accept these low-ball offers when medical bills, personal expenses, and other financial damages are compiling. Do not accept any offer without consulting a maritime lawyer. You deserve full compensation for your injuries.

Contact Our Houston Maritime Lawyers Today

Willie D. Powells Personal Injury Law Firm understands the physical and emotional trauma that results from serious accidents and injuries. Willie Powell is committed to his clients and fights hard to get them the compensation they deserve. His hard work and dedication have made him one of the top personal injury lawyers in the Houston area.

Willie D. Powells specializes in maritime worker injury law. He possesses extensive knowledge of the Jones Act and fights to get his maritime clients every dollar that they deserve.

Do not settle with the insurance company without first speaking to Willie Powell for a free case review. The professionals at Willie Powell Law Firm will review the details of your case and help you navigate the Jones Act legal claims process. Reach out today for a free case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Jones Act is also known under several other titles, including the Cabotage Law and the Passenger Vessel Services Act. This is because the Jones Act also provides protection for cruise ship passengers.

34% of cruise ship passengers reveal that they choose to stay on board at port destinations. One of these reasons includes the fear of being left behind by the ship. This is a scary and real possibility. The Passenger Vessels Act was developed to lessen the likelihood of these occurrences.

Cruise ship employees are required to keep track of their passengers at each port. These provisions were developed to motivate cruise ship workers to account for passengers before port departure. Failure to account for cruise ship passengers is a violation of the Jones Act and ships are subject to punishment, including hefty fines.

The Jones Act ensures that employers are held responsible for compensating workers who are injured or fall ill during a voyage. The Jones Act requires employers to compensate workers for the wages that would be incurred during the remainder of the trip/job.

Employers must also provide compensation for the injured worker's rent, food, transportation, and other key costs of living to abide by maintenance and cure provisions.

Unfortunately, the majority of employers will attempt to provide injured workers with unjustly low daily monetary benefit amounts. A Jones Act lawyer may need to intervene to force employers to provide fair compensation for your injuries.

A maritime injury is defined as any injury that occurs while on a navigable water vessel. There are numerous situations in which an employer may be responsible for injuries that occur on board.

Examples of Maritime Injuries:

  • Slips and Falls
  • Muscular Injuries
  • Falls from Heights
  • Injury Caused by Poor Work Equipment
  • Crane Accidents
  • Cargo Accidents
  • Falling Overboard
  • Burns
  • Lacerations

Many maritime injuries occur while workers are loading and unloading heavy cargo on a dock. These accidents may result from improper cargo storage, poor training, lack of supervision, or other employer-related cause.

Maritime workers are also at an increased risk of injuries and illnesses due to overexertion and inadequate training. Employers are responsible for ensuring that all workers have been properly trained to perform their job functions. Failure to do so is a violation of the Jones Act and puts all crew members at risk of injury.

The Jones Act covers all maritime workers who are injured as a result of negligence on behalf of their employers or another crew member. The employer is not required to be solely responsible for the incident. The Jones Act only requires the employer to play a role in contributing to the injuries.

There are numerous forms of employer negligence. Simply put, this means that the incident was foreseeable, preventable, or the extent of the injuries could have been lessened if the protocol was followed. Jones Act protocol requires employers to provide a reasonably safe work environment for employees.

The Jones Act covers all workers who have a connection to a vessel(s). The vessel is not required to be in motion but must be in active operation. Workers must spend at least 30% of their work time on the vessel to be protected under the Jones act.

The Jones Act applies to all maritime workers, including crewmen, sailors, captains, mechanics, maintenance team members, and various other professions.

It is imperative that you hire a lawyer who specializes in Jones Act personal injury cases. An experienced lawyer will fight to prove that your employer is liable for your injuries and ensure maximum compensation is provided.

Reasons to Hire an Experienced Jones Act Lawyer Include:

  • Understand the Legal Process
  • Know the Value of Your Case
  • Motivated to Fight for You
  • Not Afraid to Go to Trial
  • Extensive Jones Act Knowledge
  • Expedited Claims Process
  • Assistance in Medical Care Access
  • Peace of Mind

An experienced Jones Act lawyer knows what your case is worth and will not settle for less. Willie D Powells specializes in Jones Act law is not afraid to fight for your rights in the courtroom. Let an experienced lawyer handle your case. Reach out today for more information.

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