Working at sea is always a dangerous occupation, even for those who work in relatively safe areas. Unfortunately, because marine workers are usually in international waters when an injury occurs, he or she generally does not qualify for workers' compensation. The Jones Act provides reasonable protections for marine workers that attempt to make up for this legal complication that leaves such workers vulnerable when they need help the most.
If you recently suffered an injury at sea as a part of your job, you may qualify for coverage under the Jones Act. Be sure to carefully review the circumstances of your injury to ensure that you understand the legal grounds for your claim and have the tools you need to build a compelling claim and protect your rights and interests.
Who is covered by the Jones Act?
The Jones Act does not cover all seafaring workers, so it is important to understand if your own circumstances qualify you for Jones Act protections. In general, the act extends to crew members, officers, captains, and masters who are on a "vessel in navigation" or a collection of vessels under the same ownership for at least 30 percent of their work time.
If you review your own circumstances and find that you do not qualify for protections under the Jones Act, you may still qualify for protections under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
Protections offered by the Jones Act
The safety of workers in seafaring vessels is a top priority, and any individual or entity whose negligence causes or contributes to the injury of a worker may face liability for the associated costs. It is also imprint to note that maritime employers must provide a safe work environment as much as possible for its workers, just as a factory or office building must do the same on land. Failures to do so may result in legal liability for the resulting injuries and damages.
Many unsafe conditions or practices may expose the employer to liability, such as
- Improperly maintained or repaired equipment that presents risk of injuries
- Improper training for workers, including captains
- Physical altercations between crew members resulting in assault
- Poorly maintained work conditions, such as slippery decks
- Unavailable or improperly maintained tools and supplies
If you or someone you know suffered an injury at while working at sea, be sure to know your rights and how to protect them. A properly built personal injury claim can help keep you rights secure and ensure that you receive proper compensation for your losses.