There are various special laws here in the U.S. connected to maritime vessels and maritime work. One of these is the Jones Act, a federal law. Among the things this law does is give workers who fall under the definition of a “seaman” the ability to submit personal injury claims against their employer in connection to certain on-the-job accidents.
So, when a person who works aboard a vessel is hurt on the vessel, one of the things their efforts to get fairly compensated may involve is pursuing a Jones Act claim.
When pursuing a Jones Act claim, many important decisions come up for an injured vessel worker.
One is what court to bring the claim in. A worker might assume that, given that the Jones Act is a federal law, their only option for bringing a claim would be to bring it in a federal court. However, a hurt worker who qualifies to bring a Jones Act claim generally has a choice of either bringing it in a federal or state court.
Another is whether, when it comes to a possible trial in relation to their claim, to demand a jury trial. The right to a jury trial for a claim under the act is among the rights the Jones Act grants injured maritime workers who fall under the act’s coverage.
And these are just a couple of examples of the big Jones-Act-claims-related decisions in which what a hurt maritime worker ultimately decides in relation to them could have significant overall effects on their Jones Act case. When making these impactful choices, being properly informed can be critical. This is among the reasons why a skilled maritime lawyer’s guidance can be a key thing for a worker to have when pursuing an injury claim under the Jones Act.
Source: Cornell University Law School – Legal Information Institute, “Jones Act,” Accessed June 20, 2016