The Jones Act, originally created to support the shipping industry, has become an incredibly important part of the American economy. It has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing communities to get access to PPE, testing equipment, ventilators, and other equipment necessary for frontline workers. As a seaman, you should know how many parts of your work are impacted by the Jones Act and how it affects you personally.
If you’ve been injured while working aboard a vessel, you may be entitled to compensation. Learn more about your options now by calling Fuquay Law Firm at 251-257-7337.
1. Your Vessel is Part of the Merchant Marine
The United States Merchant Marine includes civilian mariners and federally owned merchant vessels. These vessels work with both the government and companies in the private sector, allowing every part of the country to has access to important goods and services. If you work aboard a Jones Act vessel, your vessel is part of the Merchant Marine. This means that, during times of crisis, your vessel may be called upon to transport people, military items, or important supplies.
2. Maritime Law Determines the Outcome of Your Injury Case
If you are injured or killed in an accident aboard a Jones Act vessel, your case will be decided by maritime law. Most maritime law cases don’t involve trial by jury, but this isn’t the case in a Jones Act injury or wrongful death claim. Claims for compensation under the Jones Act are fairly complex, which is why it’s important to work with an attorney who focuses on maritime law and the Jones Act.
3. “Seaman” Has Multiple Meanings Under the Jones Act
The term “seaman” leads many to believe that the Jones Act only protects certain workers aboard a vessel. However, the term is intentionally very broad to allow protection to a wide number of employees. Usually, any crew member on a Jones Act vessel is considered a seaman. This includes those on oil rigs, towboats, dredges, and other vessels. This allows a greater variety of vessel workers to qualify for maintenance and cure if they are injured while working.
4. Know the Meaning of “Maintenance and Cure”
One of the most important parts of the Jones Act for seamen is maintenance and cure. Maintenance is a term referring to a seaman’s daily living expenses, including room and board while they recover from an injury. It also includes food, utilities, and property taxes. It does not include unnecessary expenses, however.
Cure refers to the seaman’s necessary medical expenses, which includes transportation to and from medical appointments. Cure is provided until the seaman reaches the point where additional treatment will no longer help them. This is known as the point of “maximum medical improvement.”
5. Understand the Standard of Proof Under the Jones Act
If you believe you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, it’s important to understand the standard of proof in these cases. The Jones Act is significantly different from workers’ compensation, since workers’ compensation does not require an injured employee to prove that they were injured because of someone else’s negligence or malice. Under the Jones Act, you must be able to show that a crew member’s, owner’s, or officer’s negligence led to your injuries.
This may like an uphill battle, but you have a much better chance of a successful claim if you work with an experienced maritime law attorney. After an injury, you only have seven days to report it. You have three years to file a lawsuit after an injury. It’s recommended that you report the injury immediately and seek legal attention right away if you plan on fighting for compensation.
Turn to Fuquay Law Firm for Assistance with Your Claim Today
Have you been injured while working aboard a Jones Act vessel? If so, you could be entitled to compensation for the losses you’ve experienced if you can show that someone else’s negligence led to your injuries. Our team can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your options and take the first step now, call Fuquay Law Firm at 251-257-7337 or get in touch with us to set up a consultation.