The Jones Act is a cornerstone of U.S. admiralty law, providing a number of crucial protections for maritime workers. That said, navigating the intricacies of the Jones Act is no easy task. Fortunately, you don’t have to do so on your own.
If you are a maritime worker who has sustained injuries while on the job, speak with the Jones Act attorneys at Johns Law Group, PLLC. Use our guide below to learn more about the Jones Act and how you can use it to your advantage to recover in the aftermath of your maritime injury.
Jones Act Insurance Coverage Overview
Before proceeding with a Jones Act claim, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what it is and how it works. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you move forward.
What Is Jones Act Insurance Coverage?
Technically, the Jones Act is not insurance coverage. However, the Jones Act and insurance are similar in that they both provide an injured party with an avenue for compensation for damages incurred due to their injuries.
The Jones Act, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal statute that allows certain workers injured during their employment while at sea to bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Specifically, a seaman may have the right to pursue compensation under the Jones Act if their injuries resulted from unseaworthy conditions on the vessel they were working on.
Who Can Seek Compensation Under the Jones Act?
Notably, you must be classified as a “seaman” to be eligible to file a Jones Act claim. A seaman is a maritime worker who: (1) spends at least 30% of their work hours in the service of a vessel on navigable waters; and (2) substantially contributes to the mission or function of the vessel.
Common examples of seamen protected under the Jones Act include:
- Crew members on commercial vessels,
- Fishermen and deckhands on fishing boat crews,
- Workers on tugboats and towboats,
- Certain cruise ship staff members, and
- Workers on offshore drilling rigs, platforms, and supply vessels.
Conversely, individuals such as harbor workers and ship guests will not be considered seamen within the scope of the Jones Act.
If you have questions about whether you may qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, speak with an experienced attorney to discuss the facts of your case in more detail.
Should I Pursue a Maritime Injury Claim Under the Jones Act or Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
Whether you should pursue a claim under the Jones Act or through Maritime Workers’ Compensation Insurance will ultimately depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.
That said, if you qualify as a seaman, you will not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under state or federal law. Thus, your primary recourse for your injuries will likely be against your employer through a claim under the Jones Act.
Additionally, to bring a successful Jones Act claim, you must be able to prove that your employer or the unseaworthy conditions on the vessel were at least partially at fault in causing your injuries. If your actions or negligence were the sole cause of your injuries, you may not be able to benefit from the Jones Act. This differs from workers’ compensation, where workers are generally entitled to covered benefits regardless of who was at fault.
Proving your Jones Act claim will require strong evidence, attention to detail, and an in-depth understanding of maritime law. Thus, be sure to work with an attorney with the relevant background and experience to help you effectively fight for your rights.
Johns Law Group: Your Trusted Jones Act Attorneys
At Johns Law Group, we have extensive experience helping clients navigate the complexities of maritime law, generally, and the Jones Act, specifically. Our attorneys previously spent years representing employers and insurance companies, allowing us to gain valuable insight into the best legal strategies to use against them now.
When facing the aftermath of a maritime injury, having the right attorney in your corner can make all the difference in maximizing your chances of a successful outcome. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation to discuss your case and see what our team can do to help you recover today.