Federal and state laws on workers' compensation do not apply to people who do at least 30 percent of their work on boats and other seafaring vessels.
That is why The Jones Act was created. It is a federal law that allows seamen who were injured on the job to sue their employers for negligence.
There are a wide variety of injuries caused by negligence for which seamen can seek compensation under The Jones Act. The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration divides these injuries into seven categories:
- Struck – These are injuries caused by falling objects or collisions with fixed objects
- Falls, slips and trips – These injuries can occur anywhere on the vessel
- Catches – This is when the worker gets caught on, in or between objects
- Punctures or lacerations – This includes bites, cuts, stings and penetrations into the worker's skin
- Contact – These are injuries that result from workers coming into contact with toxic substances or injurious objects
- Exertion – Stress or strain caused by a single or repeated motion
- Exposure – This includes, inhalation, ingestion or absorption of a toxic or injurious substance
What do I Have to Prove to Obtain Compensation?
Seamen must prove two things to obtain compensation for a claim under The Jones Act:
The Owner, Captain or Crew on the Vessel Was Negligent
The Jones Act requires employers to provide workers with a reasonably safe place to work and to use ordinary care to keep the vessel reasonably safe. If an employer fails to do these things, it could be held liable for negligence.
There are many examples of unsafe conditions on a boat or vessel:
- Grease on the deck that creates a slip and fall risk
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Poorly maintained equipment
- Improper training of crew
- Assault by a co-worker
- Failure to provide crew members with the proper equipment
Negligence Played a Part in the Seaman's Injury
It does not matter how small of a part negligence played in the injury, just that it played a role. This is a lower burden of proof than other personal injury claims, in which negligence has to be the primary cause of the injury for claimants to establish liability.
Filing a Claim
If you suffer an injury while working on a boat, you need to seek medical treatment right away, even if you do not think you have serious injuries. Trained medical professionals will know how to identify all of your injuries. This could help you determine if negligence played a role and if you should file a claim under The Jones Act.
Waiting to seek medical treatment could create problems if you end up filing a claim. It could give your employer a reason to doubt the validity of your claim or argue that your injuries happened outside of work.
After seeking medical treatment, you should contact a skilled Louisiana maritime lawyer. The attorneys at Simien & Simien are well-versed in The Jones Act and how to prove an employer is liable for injuries on a boat or other vessel.
Our Baton Rouge injury lawyers are committed to fighting for all of the personal injury compensation you deserve, including pain and suffering, loss of household services, and loss of life’s enjoyment.
We offer a free legal consultation and do not charge legal fees unless there is a favorable resolution of your claim.