Are You Protected Under the Jones Act? You May Need a Jones Act Lawyer
If you’ve been a maritime employee but never really looked into your personal injury rights and protections, you might be astonished to learn that you can’t collect traditional worker’s compensation. Even so, you do have certain protections under maritime law that can help you receive the necessary medical care, insurance coverage, and/or financial compensation. One such protection is a law known as the Jones Act — but you’ll have to make sure you’re following all the right procedures and protocols to pursue such a case with success. Let’s look at how the Jones Act works, what you have to do to make use of it, and how an experienced Jones Act lawyer can help.
Understanding the Jones Act
The Jones Act serves as the maritime equivalent of work injury coverage such as worker’s compensation. It applies specifically to seamen, defined as individuals who work on any kind of boat, ship, or similar vessel. The Jones Act allows seamen to pursue compensation for medical bills and other losses due to unsafe work conditions. An assault by a fellow crew member, a slippery deck that causes a fall, inadequate training for safe equipment operation, faulty or ill-maintained equipment — these are all classic examples of circumstances that may qualify you for Jones Act protection.
According to AllLaw, the Jones Act holds plaintiffs to a lower standard of causation that a traditional negligence-based personal injury case would impose. You only have to demonstrate some reasonably valid connection between the incident and the employer’s actions.
A Bewildering Variety of Conditions and Procedures
Even with a relatively low standard of causation, a Jones Act case can throw some puzzling obstacles in your way. Simply establishing your Jones Act status can prove tricky sometimes; for instance, Nolo points out that even part-time seamen must spend at least 30 percent of their time onboard a vessel. You must also follow specific timelines and milestones, from showing proof that reported the incident and sought medical care as quickly as possible to filing your case within 3 years of the incident.
Your Jones Act Lawyer Can Help You Get What’s Rightfully Yours
Any Jones Act lawyer at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. can help you navigate the sometimes-choppy waters of Jones Act litigation. We can determine whether you should actually file your case under the Jones Act or under some other maritime law. We can also make sure the case is filed with the right court and that all necessary documentation has been completed and submitted correctly. Call (800) 836-5830 to learn more and schedule a consultation.