Injuries at Sea—Jones Act Claims
If you are like most seamen who have been injured on the job, you simply cannot afford to lose your case. Most likely, your livelihood, supporting yourself and supporting your family depend on the compensation you receive from your Jones Act claim. But these claims are complex and difficult to win, and many injured workers who handle their own cases end up with drastically reduced or even denied claims, leaving them with nothing.
You have rights as an injured worker. Talk with an experienced Jones Act attorney from our firm, Hofmann & Schweitzer, to discuss what benefits are available to you under the Jones Act. Lawyers at our firm have been helping injured maritime workers since 1977, and we have a remarkably successful track record of verdicts and settlements for New York City clients throughout the five boroughs.
Understanding the Jones Act for Injured Seamen
It helps to understand just what the Jones Act is and who it aims to protect. Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act is federal legislation that protects workers who are injured at sea. Similar to workers’ compensation, it provides compensation so the injured are able to secure care and avoid unnecessary financial hardship after a work-related illness or injury. Unlike workers’ compensation, however, the Jones Act allows workers to pursue a negligence claim against their employer or another responsible party, which makes more compensation available. Under the Jones Act, it is possible to receive both economic and non-economic damages, which includes payment for:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical costs
- Lost earning capacity
Who Is Considered a Seaman Under the Jones Act?
The law specifies that the Jones Act applies only to seamen. However, there is no concrete definition of what constitutes a seaman. Injured workers and their attorneys typically look to past legal cases to help define who qualifies as a seaman for the purposes of the Jones Act. In general, it is accepted that a seaman is a person who:
- Is assigned to a vessel or fleet that operates in navigable waters.
- Performs work related to the vessel’s purpose.
- Spends a significant portion of his time on the vessel (generally understood to be 30 percent of the time, though that number is not a hard-and-fast rule).
Employers and their insurance companies will likely attempt to dispute your status as a seaman if at all possible to avoid having to pay for your injuries and the consequences. Even if you aren’t sure if you are eligible, an experienced attorney can help you fully understand the law and help demonstrate you qualify for compensation.
Make Sure Your Jones Act Claim Is Successful
There are numerous complications and nuances involved with these definitions and the Jones Act process. To add to the challenges, many employers, insurance companies and “company doctors” will work to minimize the amount of compensation you receive even if you qualify. The attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer have the knowledge, experience, and tenacity to make sure you get full compensation in your case. We have helped many injured seamen just like you obtain the maximum amount of compensation they deserve, and we may be able to help in your case. Additionally, our legal team has authored a free book to help seaman understand their situation and legal options. Request a copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights to get started.Marine injuries are serious and can have lasting consequences for injured workers and their families. The stakes are high, and you need an experienced advocate who will fight for you. Do not wait. Contact us online or call us directly at 800.362.9329 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.