Admiralty and maritime laws were written to protect people who work on a ship, oil rig, or a sea-going vessel. If you’ve been injured while out to sea, you may have a case.
Injuries to people working on ships can be pursued in many ways. One of the most common is under the Jones Act, a law passed by congress to make work on the high seas safer and to compensate victims of injuries or deaths. Ships can be extremely dangerous places to work. The Jones Act provides an injured seaman a remedy under maritime law against their employers for injuries arising from negligent acts of the employer or fellow employees during the course of employment on a vessel out at sea. In order to win a case under the Jones Act, proof must be shown that an employer has acted or failed to act in a reasonable manner that would have prevented injury. Claims brought under the Jones Act can also raise claims that a vessel was unseaworthy. An employer may also be liable for failing to provide a seaman with adequate medical care.
Who Qualifies Under the Jones Act?
In order to qualify under the Jones Act, a person must be classified as a seamen. Seamen include people employed on freighters, crew boats, tankers, supply boats, barges, fishing boats, tugboats, towboats, and crew boats. Those who work on fixed platforms and longshoremen are not classified as seamen under the Jones Act and do not qualify for Jones Act protection. In addition:
The vessel the seaman is on must have been in navigation at the time the injury occurred (out at sea – not at port). There must be a relatively permanent connection between the seaman and either a single vessel, or a group of vessels under the same ownership. The injured seaman must have been aboard the vessel primarily to perform duties outlined under his employment and those duties must have contributed to a primary function of the vessel or the accomplishment of a mission.
If you or a loved one has been injured or has died as a result of an injury while out at sea, such as a cruise ship injury, an experienced Jones Act attorney can help. In instanced where a seaman is killed, an attorney may potentially also seek damages under the Death on the High Seas Act. for additional information.