What You Need to Know about Jones Act “Workers Compensation”

What You Need to Know about Jones Act “Workers Compensation”

Mar 1, 2024 | Jones Act Lawyer

The maritime industry is one of the most dangerous on the planet. This fact concerns people when they learn that maritime industry workers don’t have recourse under state workers’ compensation laws.

However, you don’t have to worry because the Jones Act protects your rights instead.

If you get injured (or worse) doing an offshore job, you have special recourse by way of a Jones Act workers’ compensation claim. Learn exactly how this works in this short guide.

What the Jones Act Is and Does

The Jones Act (also known as the Merchant Marine Act) focuses on establishing and supporting the merchant marine, a critical part of the United States economy. Part of that support is giving mariners (called seamen in the Act) workers’ compensation protection. The risk in the industry would be too great without these rights, and far fewer people would choose to work as mariners as a result.

The Act does this by extending the rights in the Federal Employer’s Liability Act to seamen. For the injured person, this means that they can bring their case to a Federal district court or a State court, and includes the right to a trial by jury if necessary.

Jones Act Workers’ Compensation Coverage

The most critical parts of Jones Act coverage are who the Act covers and what kinds of injuries it covers.

As for whom, the Act covers all civil employees who work in the Merchant Marine out at sea. This includes employees on ships (including captains), fishermen, oil rig workers, and even people involved in tourism and hospitality on cruise ships.

As for the injuries, there’s no closed list of injuries that qualify. Anything from medical expenses for a broken hand up to pain and suffering or loss of income because of a provider’s death can be claimed. What matters is that the employer or a fellow employee caused the mishap wrongfully or negligently.

Note this does not include injuries sustained by civilians working with the US Navy. The Defense Base Act deals with those workers’ compensation claims.

How to Proceed With a Claim

If an act or negligence leads to an injury, you’ll first want to secure all the evidence you can of the injuries sustained. Ensure you visit a competent doctor to get checked out and record exactly what happened.

The next step is to contact a Jones Act attorney and explain your version of the events. Our attorneys evaluate your case for free and will help you proceed with the claim if you have a valid case.

Find the Best Jones Act Attorney Today

Jones Act workers’ compensation is there to protect the rights of people working in the Merchant Marine. That extends to every commercial activity at sea and even covers accidents in recreational settings if a mariner was negligent.

Start the process by gathering all the evidence you can to back up your story. Then, contact a Jones Act attorney to get the legal ball rolling.

At Barnes Law Firm, we have a workers’ compensation lawyer for every type of workplace or personal injury case you can think of. Get a free evaluation today, and let us start fighting for you.