1.) WHAT IS THE JONES ACT?
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law enacted by Congress that provides protection to persons who are members of the crew of a ship or vessel. The Jones Act governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers for the work-related injury or death of an employee.
If you were a crewman on a boat or vessel and were injured while at work, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries under the Jones Act. Unlike Workers Compensation, in order for a worker to recover under the Jones Act, a worker must prove negligence or fault on the part of the vessel’s owners, operators, officers, and/or fellow employees or by reason of any defect in the vessel, its gear, tackle, or equipment.
2.) WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
If you are injured while working on, over or around a navigable waterway, it is critical that you contact an attorney who is familiar with the Jones Act to review your case. Many attorneys are unfamiliar with the nuanced provisions of the Jones Act and may inadvertently file your claim as a Workers Compensation case, limiting the value of your potential recovery.
3.) WHY DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
Maritime employers understand the Jones Act and have trained employees and attorneys working to protect the employer from the moment you get hurt. Quite often they will try to control your medical care and treatment to reduce their exposure and limit your recovery. They will assign you a case manager or nurse who is really hired to protect them, not you. Know your rights, protect yourself, and consult an experienced Jones Act/Maritime attorney immediately. If you or a loved one has been injured, call us at 314-588-8000 for a free consultation.
4.) WHO IS COVERED UNDER THE JONES ACT?
The Jones Act is a federal law that protects sailors or seaman. Although the Jones Act does not define the terms, it specifically includes people working on the inland rivers of the United States. The United States Supreme Court has generally defined a sailor or seaman as one contributes to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission, and one who has a connection to a vessel in navigation that is substantial in both duration and nature. Put simply, a worker must spend at least 30 percent of his time in service of a vessel in navigation. However, it is not necessary that the worker assist in the actual navigation. In recent developments, courts have extended coverage under the Jones Act to barge cleaners, barge welders, dredge crews, platform and rig workers, and iron workers and laborers working off barges for highway and bridge construction, among others.
5.) AM I COVERED BY WORKERS COMPENSATION TOO?
Very simply, if you qualify as a sailor or seaman NO and you don't want to be. This is true because your potential recovery under the Jones Act is much greater.
6.) CAN I FILE A CLAIM FOR EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS OR BENZENE EXPOSURE?
7.) HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM?
You have three years from the time you became aware of your injuries and knew or should have known that you injuries were related to your employment.