Understanding Your Rights If You Are an Injured Seamen
The Jones Act is a federal law that entitles seamen to compensation if they are injured within the course of their employment. Determining if you are eligible to file a Jones Act claim can be challenging without the help of an attorney. It is strongly recommended that you speak to an attorney as early in the process as possible so that you understand your rights.
At Lattof & Lattof, P.C., we help file Jones Act claims on behalf of injured seamen nationwide. Our maritime lawyers have recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients. We will help determine all of your legal options and work tirelessly to get you the largest possible recovery based on the circumstances of your case.
If you are a seaman who was injured on the job, contact our office at (251) 432-6691 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Who Is Considered a Seaman Under the Jones Act?
A seaman is generally defined as someone who is engaged or employed aboard a vessel, however, to bring a Jones Act claim, a person must prove their status as a seaman. In order to prove seaman status they must show that they spend not only a substantial portion of their time (at minimum 30%) but also a substantial portion of their work contributing to the operation or function of the vessel.
Injured seamen covered by the Jones Act may include but are not limited to:
- Captains and masters
- Mates, officers, and bosuns
- Cooks and chefs
A person who only works sporadically on a ship may not qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act. Additionally, someone who is not regularly exposed to the normal hazards associated with a seaman’s work may also not be eligible to file a claim. However, the individual does not have to show that they were actually “at sea” when the injury occurred for the claim to be valid.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Covered?
Any injury that occurs within the course of your employment may be covered under the Jones Act. Since seamen cannot typically file a workers’ compensation claim, the Jones Act allows them to pursue a lawsuit against their employer for personal injuries they sustained on the job.
Under the Jones Act employers must ensure that the vessel is seaworthy and kept in a reasonably safe condition. Failure to do so can result in liability if someone is injured on board. If you are unsure whether your injury is covered under the Jones Act, you need to consult with a maritime accident lawyer today.
How Long Do I Have to File a Jones Act Claim?
In general, you have three (3) years from the date of the accident or injury to file a claim under the Jones Act. However, many times you are required by your employer to report an accident within days or weeks of the incident. Failure to report your injury to your employer could result in costly delays and may harm your case.
Hiring a Jones Act Claim Attorney
If you are a seaman injured within the course of your employment, you might be entitled to file a claim under the Jones Act. Contact our office today at (251) 432-6691 to schedule a free consultation.