About Jones Act Maritime Claims
The Maritime Law is known as the Jones Act. The purpose of the law is to support the U.S. Maritime Industry. It provides permanent legislation for the transportation of cargo in U.S. vessels. It also allows injured sailors to make claims and collect from their employers for the negligence of the ship owner, the captain or fellow member of the crew. It operates simply by extending similar legislation already in place that allows the recoveries by other statutes.
An action under the act may be brought either in U.S. Federal Court or in State Court. The plaintiff is entitled to a jury trial, a right which is not afforded in Maritime Law absent a statute authorizing it.
Seamen face high risk of on the job injury. The seaman working in or for the merchant marine live a life that is difficult for land workers to understand. They may be days away from medical care if they are injured. There are special legal remedies available to seamen to help ensure that if someone is injured they will be compensated and cared for by statute.
The owner of the vessel owes the seaman an absolute duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. The vessel must be reasonably fit for the intended users and equipped with the appropriate equipment and gear. They must have a competent crew and a safe place to live and work.
When a sea person is injured, they have a legal right to benefits similar to those available with the workers compensation claim. An employer must provide medical care, hospitalization, rehabilitation services until the injured seaman reaches maximum medical improvement. An injured seaman has an absolute right to maintenance and cure. If the seaman has a valid Jones Act claim, the seaman may be able to recover a substantial award of damages in addition to full benefits of compensation.
Also, family members of a seaman who died are able to bring a wrongful death claim under the Jones Act.
In order to be successful under the Jones Act, the seaman must show they were injured during the course of their employment, and the employer’s negligence was the cause of the injury. In order to determine if you have a viable Jones Act claim, the party must prove the following:
- That the employer’s negligence caused the injury;
- That the seaman’s employer was negligent;
- That the injured party suffered an injury while employed; and
- That the injured party was a sea person.
When to Contact a Chicago Maritime Attorney?
For the Jones Act to apply, you must prove you are a sea person. It is defined and means you must work on a vessel and be doing the vessel’s work when you are injured. Your duties must have contributed to either the function of the vessel or the vessel to which you were assigned to. You must satisfy the connection test, which means you must have a connection to the vessel or fleet of vessels that is substantial to both time and nature. Your employment must be either related to the ship’s function or its mission no less than 30% of the time.
The above reasons set the basis why it is important for you to secure experienced attorneys, such as David K. Kremin & Associates, who have experience in this area. You may contact us for a free consultation at 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.