What Is The Jones Act?

The Merchant Marine Act, better known as the Jones Act, requires ship owners to provide medical care and living costs to injured seamen. This includes cases of injury or property damage caused by the vessels themselves, even if the injuries happened on shore.

Jones Act & Unseaworthiness

The Jones Act attorneys at Terry Bryant have many years of experience representing injured maritime workers.  Seamen injured on board a vessel in navigable waters have special rights and remedies granted to them by federal law.

These rights include payment by the employer of maintenance, which is payment of a daily amount of money to cover the cost of living while not earning wages. The employer is also obligated to pay all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for treatment of the seaman’s injuries, which is known as cure. These payments must be made until the seaman’s injury has reached the point of maximum medical improvement and are due regardless of whose fault caused the injuries.

Additionally, the employer or vessel owner may be responsible for paying much more extensive damages to the injured seaman under the Jones Act and maritime law of unseaworthiness. These compensation concepts are based on fault. The Jones Act requires an employer to provide seamen with a reasonably safe place to work on board a vessel.

This duty includes the responsibility to:

  • Follow safety measures
  • Hire and train competent crew
  • Provide safe working conditions, etc.

Vessel owners must provide safe, seaworthy vessels on which to work. This includes a wide range of conditions for which vessel owners are responsible. The quality of the ship and the training of the crew-members are both responsibilities of vessel owners.

For example, an “unseaworthy” vessel is one with…

  • Inadequate or faulty equipment
  • Worn out non-skid surfaces
  • Slick surfaces
  • Lack of fire safety equipment
  • Lack of safety guards or railing
  • Inadequately or dangerously stored cargo
  • Poorly trained crew, etc.

These are just a few of the conditions that injured workers should be mindful of when considering legal action. To speak to one of our attorneys about a potential claim, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options.

What types of compensation does your employer or vessel owner owe you?

Violation of these responsibilities by the employer or vessel owner subject them to paying damages to an injured seaman for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Payments of maintenance and cure.

An experienced Houston Jones Act attorney can help navigate the treacherous waters of holding the employer or vessel owner accountable and collecting full and fair compensation for the injured seaman’s injuries.

Understanding Maintenance and Cure

Living costs and medical benefits covered by the Jones Act are known as maintenance and cure.

Maintenance can include the cost of:

  • food
  • heating or electric bills.

These benefits will be paid while the employee is out of work, but end once the worker is back on the job.

Cure benefits cover:

  • prescriptions
  • wheelchairs
  • other medical devices.

Find out whether you are eligible for maintenance and cure by calling our Jones Act lawyers in Houston. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law knows the law, and we want to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Right To Sue With Trial By Jury

A worker can sue his employer, with the right to trial by jury, for compensation if the injury was due to the owner’s negligence or if the vessel was unseaworthy. Laws concerning recovery for personal injury or death to a seaman follow those under the Federal Employers Liability Act, which regulates recovery for railroad workers.

If the person who was injured or killed was partly at fault for the injury, he is still able to sue for compensation by law. However, a jury will take into consideration the amount of negligence attributed to the worker and will reduce the award in proportion to that amount of responsibility.

Types of Workers We Represent

The term “maritime workers” applies to workers on many different vessels, in many industries. The Jones Act applies to workers in…

  • Offshore drilling
  • Offshore transport
  • Offshore supply
  • Tankers
  • Barges
  • Fishing
  • Dredging
  • Cargo shipping.

Many types of workers on these and other vessels are covered by the Jones Act. From officers to crew members, every worker on a vessel deserves compensation if they’ve been injured by an employer’s or vessel owner’s negligence.

If you’re considering filing a legal claim through the Jones Act, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to schedule a free case evaluation.

Rights of Families of Maritime Workers Killed on the Job

It’s not only seamen who have the right to take legal action under the Jones Act. Family of a seaman who dies from an on-the-job illness or injury can file a wrongful death claim to receive compensation for financial losses, funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, and lost wages.

Surviving spouses, parents, children, and dependent siblings can file a claim against the negligent party to seek compensation, though the claim must be typically be filed within three years of the death of the loved one. (***Always speak directly to a licensed lawyer for the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claim.***) No amount of compensation can make a family whole again, but these claims do offer families the opportunity to be compensated for the many challenges they’ll be facing. They also offer a sense of accountability and justice.

If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim through the Jones Act, we encourage you to contact the Jones Act attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to schedule a free consultation.

We Know the Jones Act – Contact our Houston Jones Act Lawyers

Not all attorneys are comfortable handling cases involving the Jones Act. These cases are different than other types of injury claims, so if you’re looking for an attorney to accept your case, make sure they have experience with your case type.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have years of experience getting injured seamen compensation for the harm they’ve suffered. We stand up for the rights of injured workers, and we have a deep understanding of the Jones Act.

Maritime work is some of the toughest work imaginable. The Jones Act was enacted to protect seamen and to give them the chance at fair compensation after a workplace injury. But you must act when you’ve been mistreated by an employer. The Jones Act attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury law understand the challenges you’re facing.

To get help with your Jones Act claim, call our Houston Jones Act Lawyers at (800) 444-5000 or complete a free initial consultation form now.