Jones Act Claims
Written by Faith Anderson on July 30, 2013
Jones Act Claims
Maritime workers who are injured at sea may be entitled to life-saving compensation by filing a Jones Act claim. If you believe you may be eligible for benefits under the Jones Act, contact a Jones Act attorney today.
The Jones Act is part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, and deals with the rights of seaman injured on the job while at sea. In the past, the risks that seamen exposed themselves to on a daily basis were typically considered an occupational hazard, or just part of the job. Attitudes towards the working lives of seamen began to undergo a gradual change towards the turn of the last century. As the high risks of a seaman’s job came to light, so did the negligible protection they enjoyed under the law. Since the Jones Act was passed by Congress in 1920, it has undergone a number of changes to more specifically define key concepts of the Act. The definition of a seaman, for example, has been expanded over the years to include more and more types of workers that are eligible for benefits by filing a Jones Act claim. To date, Jones Act claims provide benefits to seamen who sustain injuries while in service to a vessel on navigable waters. If you were injured while working on a vessel at sea, contact a Jones Act attorney immediately, as you may have grounds to file a Jones Act claim for compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Claims vs. Jones Act Claims
Although the Jones Act provides compensation for injured maritime workers, it is very different from the benefits provided by workers’ compensation claims, and is even different from the benefits offered to injured workers under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Workers’ compensation payouts are available to injured workers as a matter of right, regardless of whether or not the employer was found to be negligent, and without the burden on the worker to prove employer negligence. The LHWCA provides critical disability benefits for injured maritime workers who are not considered seamen, and an injured worker’s right to receive benefits does not depend on whether or not the employer was found to be negligent. The Jones Act, however, requires that an injured seaman proves his or her employer’s negligence led to the injuries in order to be eligible for benefits.
Filing a Jones Act Claim
Before the Jones Act was developed to protect them, seamen had no legal recourse in the event of an injury, nor did the survivors of maritime workers who were killed on the job. Although a seaman injured at work must prove employer negligence in order to be eligible for benefits under the Jones Act, the negligence doesn’t have to be substantial. Even minor negligence on the part of an employer can make an injured seaman eligible to file a Jones Act claim. In general, filing a Jones Act claim puts an injured maritime worker in the position to collect considerable payouts that are far greater than those available under workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, filing a workers’ compensation claim after sustaining an injury at sea can prevent a seaman from ever being able to file a Jones Act claim. For this reason, seeking legal guidance after suffering an injury at work is critical for seaman to collect the compensation they deserve.
Jones Act Attorneys for Injured Workers
Because the eligibility parameters defined by the Jones Act have changed over the years, enlisting the legal help of a qualified Jones Act attorney after sustaining an injury at sea is more important than ever. Workers who were previously classified under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, for example, may now be eligible for compensation by filing a Jones Act claim. If you work anywhere in or near the water and you have suffered a serious injury, contact a Jones Act attorney for legal guidance. You may be entitled to life-saving benefits by filing a Jones Act claim under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Protecting the well-being of those who put their lives at risk everyday is the main goal of Jones Act attorneys, and pursuing fair and timely reimbursement is only one aspect of this goal. With the help of an experienced Jones Act lawyer, you can adequately defend your legal rights and collect the compensation you deserve.