Seaman and Maritime Workers Injuries
SEAMAN AND JONES ACT LIABILITY
Working aboard vessels at sea subjects crewmen to the constant risk of serious personal injury. If you were employed to work aboard a vessel as a seaman, crewman, or commercial fisherman, you are protected by a federal maritime law called the Jones Act, 46 USC 688. The Jones Act provides comprehensive coverage for crewmen who are injured or die through negligence of their employer.
Crewmen aboard ships, boats, barges, tug boats, commercial fishing vessels, cruise ships, tour boats, and tankers, in navigable waters at sea, in rivers, lakes, bays, and sounds, are entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, when they are injured or die through the negligence of their employer.
Every claim for a maritime worker who is employed to work aboard a floating vessel should be reviewed for possible coverage under the Jones Act. If there is any question about whether or not you are a Jones Act seaman, you should contact an experienced maritime and admiralty lawyer to determine what your rights and benefits may be.
Most crewmen aboard a vessel are covered by the Jones Act, from the captain and mate in the wheelhouse, to deckhands, wipers, housekeepers, engineers, fish processors, and cooks, working in other parts of the ship. The Jones Act does not discriminate – the lowest crewmen aboard the vessel have the same rights to protection as the captain of the ship.
Damages under the Jones Act may include damages for past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, vocational and occupational retraining, past and future pain and suffering, psychological suffering, and loss of consortium. Some serious injuries limit the number and types of jobs available to an injury victim. In this situation, seamen are entitled to damages for lost earning capacity. Additionally, if a seaman’s injury will worsen with time, and cut short the seaman’s career, he is entitled to future lost wages for this loss. In most situations, the Jones Act provides far greater compensation to an injured worker than State workers compensation acts.