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Answering the most common FAQ’s about the Jones Act

Any job will put a person at risk of getting hurt, but there are certain professions that are much more dangerous than others. Location often factors into how likely someone is to get hurt at work.

Those who do jobs at offshore facilities, like oil and gas extraction professionals or fishing professional suffers severe injury or even die because of something that happened at work. Unlike the average worker at a factory or a retail shop, offshore employees can’t just claim workers’ compensation.

Injured workers or bereaved surviving family members of someone who dies on the job may need to make a claim against the employer under the Jones Act. What do offshore workers and their families need to know about the Jones Act?

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act is part of a bigger law, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. What offshore workers and their employers call the Jones Act is a subsection of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

When people talk about the Jones Act, they refer to Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act that protects workers employed in offshore locations. This federal rule applies to all workers hurt at the ports, out on the waters around the United States or while working in an offshore location for a company based in the United States.

How do workers claim compensation under the Jones Act?

Workers hurt in a maritime workplace environment sometimes have compensation rights under the Jones Act. Unfortunately, unlike workers’ compensation, reimbursement for injuries under the Jones Act isn’t available through a simple claim process.

Instead, an injured worker will need to bring a civil lawsuit against their employer. That means their situation needs to meet stricter criteria than the average workplace compensation claim would.

How does Jones Act compensation differ from workers’ compensation?

The biggest difference between Jones Act compensation and workers’ compensation benefits is that there isn’t necessarily a specific benefit schedule. Rather than receiving a specific amount of compensation, workers will make a claim in court. What they receive depends on the outcome of their lawsuit.

Do all injured offshore workers qualify to file a Jones act lawsuit?

The sad truth is that not every worker hurt in an offshore or maritime environment qualifies for compensation under the Jones Act. Typically, a worker will need to show that either negligence or misconduct by their employer directly contributed to their injuries.

Learning more about the Jones Act and exploring what led to an offshore workplace accident can help a worker or their surviving family members get compensation for those recent workplace losses.