Have you or a loved one suffered an injury or illness during the course of employment on a vessel or other floating movable structure? You may be entitled to compensation under a federal statute known as the "Jones Act." The Jones Act is not "workers' compensation" in the traditional sense. It was designed for maritime workers and seamen to be compensated under specific circumstances.
The Barnes Law Firm, Ltd. LLP, represents people and injured workers throughout Houston who have suffered a personal injury under the Jones Act. If you or a loved one has been injured during the course of employment at sea or on a vessel or other floating movable structure and have sustained physical injury, disfigurement, disability, damages, losses, including pain and suffering, contact our Houston-based lawyers today.
Background Information on the Jones Act
The United States Congress enacted the Jones Act in 1920 as an addition to the Federal Employers Liability Act ("FELA"). The purpose of the Jones Act is to protect an injured or ill "seaman." A "seaman" is generally a person employed on a vessel or another movable structure navigated or floating on an ocean or intra-coastal waterway who contributes to the vessel or structure's function or mission. The definition of a "seaman" generally does not include a longshoreman, pilot or other person who works on a stationary platform.
When Does the Jones Act Apply?
The Jones Act typically applies, but is not limited to, a seaman employed to contribute to the function or mission of:
- Freighters, ships and semi-submersibles
- Jack-ups, lay barges and tankers
- Research vessels
- Riverboat casinos, restaurant boats and cruise ships
- Tug boats and row boats
- Shrimp boats and fishing boats
- Crew boats, ferries and water taxis
The act generally allows an injured or ill seaman, or the representative of a deceased seaman, to sue to recover damages from his employer if the injuries, illness or death occurred or arose during the course of the seaman's employment and were caused by:
- The employer's negligence
- A co-worker's negligence
- An unsafe condition on or off the vessel — referred to as an unseaworthy claim
- Inadequate or unavailable medical care
- The employer's failure to rescue or search for the seaman if he fell or jumped overboard
The injured or ill seaman is typically eligible to recover money for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity and emotional distress. The act also allows family members to recover after losing a loved one.
Act Fast With Your Jones Act Claims
A Jones Act claim usually must be filed within three years of the date the seaman was injured or the date he discovered the illness. In addition to a Jones Act claim, the loved ones or other representative of a seaman who died may also seek compensation under general maritime law, Death on the High Seas Act or other applicable federal statute.
Contact a Compassionate and Experienced Attorney Regarding Any Jones Act Issues
If you have been injured on water in the course of your employment or believe you are entitled to benefits under the Jones Act, contact our Houston, Texas, law firm for a free evaluation of your legal options.