Everything You Need to Know About Filing a Jones Act Lawsuit

Everything You Need to Know About Filing a Jones Act Lawsuit

Sep 10, 2021 | Jones Act Lawyer

Did you know that human errors cause between 75% to 96% of marine accidents?

Every day, maritime workers risk their lives. Sailors confront the risk of injuries and accidents due to their vessel’s conditions or the weather while at sea.

While no company can control the weather, they can ensure the safety of their employees on board sea vessels. In addition, the Jones Act laws protect injured seamen, allowing them to get compensation and benefits.

Often, injuries and accidents occur suddenly out of nowhere, sometimes leaving terrible consequences in their wake.

If you’re a seaman and hurt while working on a ship, you may be entitled to file a Jones Act claim to recover damages. Learn more about the Jones Act below.

What Is the Jones Act?

This maritime law is known as the Jones Act. It is a federal law that gives injured sailors who have been injured while at sea a form of compensation. In addition, they can sue their employer for a personal injury claim.

Crew members are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in either state or federal law, in contrast to other land-based employees who are. Injured sailors are only entitled to compensation under the Jones Act and ordinary maritime law.

Those who have been hurt or killed at sea due to carelessness or unseaworthiness may file a Jones Act action against their employer.   

What Does the Jones Act Define as Negligence?

A sailor’s employer is required by the Jones Act to provide a sufficiently safe working environment for the sailor. In addition, the employer shall take reasonable care to maintain and preserve the vessel on which the sailor works in a fairly safe condition given the circumstances.

According to the Jones Act, an employer may be held responsible for any and all kinds of hazardous circumstances aboard a vessel. These include:

  • Greasy or oily decks
  • Failure of equipment
  • Badly maintained machinery and equipment
  • Proper suppy of equipment to carry out your work
  • Providing no training of the crew
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Negligence on the part of other colleagues

There are, of course, many other hazards that can happen. All these place a big burden on the employer to make sure the workplace is safe and secure.

Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer and What Steps to Take?

In general, it is a step in the right direction to hire a Jones Act lawyer. They are experienced and know the ropes. 

Discuss these concerns with your Jones Act attorney before proceeding with your claim to prevent inadvertently jeopardizing your chances of victory. Here are the steps to take when filing a Jones Act injury lawsuit:

Avoid Giving Recorded Statements

First, you should know that providing a recorded statement is not mandated by law.

Some vessel owners may put their own interests ahead of their employees’ by putting pressure on the injured to provide such a statement. Sadly, sailors frequently comply, believing they are helpful.
Providing a recorded statement may actually harm your Jones Act claim. So, respectfully refuse and contact your lawyer before pursuing the matter.

File an Accident Report

Similarly to the above, you are not required to fill out accident reports immediately. However, there are benefits to filling out an accident report if you’ve been injured. A sailor has three years to bring a claim to court.

Do Things Right in Your Jones Act Claim

You may do a few things if you have a Jones Act injury claim while on navigable waterways to help your case.

  • If you haven’t already done so, report your injuries right away
  • Compile a list of witnesses’ complete details.
  • Avoid making any comments that implicate you in any kind of wrongdoing
  • Do not sign any papers until you have spoken with your Jones Act lawyer about the claim

It is of the utmost importance to take heed of the above steps. These steps will ensure your Jones Act lawyer is in full control and can reach the best settlement for you or your family.

Sail Away to Claim What’s Rightfully Yours!

Sailors may rest easy knowing that the Jones Act exists to protect them in case of workplace accidents. 

So, if you were injured at sea due to your employer’s carelessness, it is best to understand your rights.

Why not contact us for a free first consultation!