Jones Act lawyers represent workers injured on vessels at sea, helping them make claims and seek compensation. A Jones Act claim can be complicated with a lot of room for error, so it is important to rely on an experienced lawyer for the best outcome.
What Are a Seaman’s Rights Under the Jones Act?
If you work as a seaman, you need to understand your rights as laid out under the Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.
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The Jones Act guarantees a seaman’s right to compensation in the case of an accident caused by negligent actions of a ship owner or employer.
Understanding your rights is essential, but the Jones Act can be confusing. Someone who has experience studying the law and working for seamen to get them the compensation they deserve can help guide you if you are injured on the job.
An experienced lawyer can explain your rights to you in language you can understand and help you get compensation.
Who Qualifies for Jones Act Claims?
Your first question might be whether or not you even qualify for rights under the Jones Act. An experienced and knowledgeable Jones Act lawyer can help clarify that for you.
The Jones Act is for seamen who spend a significant portion of working time aboard a vessel in navigation and contributing to the ship’s functioning. This is a broad definition that can be confusing. Your lawyer can help you determine whether or not you qualify.
If you qualify to receive compensation or sue your employer for damages under the Jones Act, a good lawyer can help you through the process of filing a claim.
There are specific steps you must take and common errors that are easy to make if you don’t have an experienced lawyer helping you along the way.
When Do You Need a Jones Act Lawyer?
If you are a seaman injured on the job, you may be eligible for a claim under the Jones Act. For a claim to be valid, the injury must meet these qualifications:
- It resulted from someone else’s negligence
- The incident happened while the vessel was on the water
- The victim meets the qualifications of being a seaman, which means spending at least 30% of work time aboard a navigable vessel.
Here are some examples of accidents or injuries that could qualify for a Jones Act claim:
- An accident happened because you were exhausted from working a longer shift than was allowed or from working a shift without the mandated breaks.
- You were injured because you or others were not given adequate safety training.
- The vessel was unseaworthy, and it caused an accident.
- You were physically assaulted aboard the vessel.
- You were injured because a piece of equipment had not been adequately maintained.
- Warning signs were inadequate or not present in hazardous areas of a vessel.
In any of these, or similar situations involving negligence, cause you to be injured on the job, it may be time to look for a good lawyer to help you determine if your claim is valid and help you file a Jones Act claim.
What to Look for in a Jones Act Lawyer
When seeking a professional to help with your claim, you want to find a firm and an attorney with experience in maritime law. Evaluate your potential choices and ask as many questions as needed to make you feel comfortable with your choice.
Look for a lawyer who has already filed and won many claims for injured seamen. Maritime law can be complicated, and you need someone with the experience and the knowledge to give you the best chance of winning damages.
Jones Act claims may require litigation, which means you also want a lawyer with courtroom experience.
Being injured on the job is serious and can impact your life in many ways. You need to be sure that you understand your rights according to the Jones Act and have an experienced and knowledgeable team of professionals, including a Jones Act lawyer, to help you get the compensation you deserve.