A Jones Act Case Should Be Handled By An Experienced Attorney

by Terry Bryant

If an injury claim is tied to the Jones Act, the case should be handled by an attorney who has experience in maritime law. Seamen face a lot of dangers on the job, but many of these can be mitigated by a vessel owner and employer that takes care of their employees. Too many, however, do not and this results in many preventable injuries every year. And seamen face an uphill battle if they are hurt because they are not entitled to reimbursement through workers’ compensation. With the Jones Act on their side, though, seamen do have a couple of options available to them that make it easier to attain compensation for medical costs.

The Jones Act can change the case with the protections it offers seamen, as long as they are qualified. To be considered a seaman under the definition of the statute, a worker needs to spend at least 30 percent of their working time on a navigating vessel.

If a seaman is qualified, they can file a claim toward an employer or vessel owner if negligence was responsible for the injury. Normally, this can be relatively difficult, but courts tend to provide a lot of leeway in favor of the injured worker with these claims. As a result, a worker has a lower bar to clear to prove negligence. Employers must also provide injured seamen with funds for room, board, living expenses and medical treatment in the event of an accident as long as they remain on the ship. The employer is expected to provide compensation for medical treatment until the worker has recovered as much as they can.