Injuries while at work can be devastating. You may be worried about medical needs as well as an inability to work while you recover. You may be concerned that you will lose your job if you file a claim against the company, especially if your company’s negligence caused your injuries. However, the law is on your side. Let a workplace injury lawyer help you. We will investigate your claim and help you decide what steps to take next. Call us today at 618-277-3644 to find out how we can help you.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is actually a portion of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 was passed by Congress to regulate marine commerce in the intercoastal, boundary, and all other navigable waters of the United States. Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act is the section which is commonly known as the Jones Act. The purpose of the Jones Act, among other things, is to ensure that goods transported in America are transported on American made, American flagged vessels, and to ensure that sailors on these ships can receive compensation for injuries.
Unlike Workmen’s Compensation rules, the Jones Act does require a showing of fault, before you can receive compensation for an injury suffered at work. The standard of proof, however, is less than that required in a normal personal injury case. The Jones Act states:
“Any sailor who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right to trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply.”
In its most basic form, this allows you to sue the owner or operator of the vessel on which you were traveling for damages as a result of injuries sustained while working aboard the ship. There is no requirement that the injury occur on a ship, and the statute is construed to encompass injuries sustained on tugs, barges, platforms, fishing boats, and any other place where you conducted work in the scope of employment.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held, however, that for a sailor or other employee of a shipping company to be classified as a “Jones Act” sailor, and thus afforded the protections of the Merchant Marine Act, that employee must spend 30 percent of their time, or more, in the service of some vessel operating on navigable waters.
Common Jones Act Claims
Sailors often base their claims on unseaworthiness of the vessel, or on the negligence of the captain or other employees. These claims can range from lack of structural stability in the vessel to negligent operation or negligent supervision. The facts of each case will differ.
You need an experienced workplace injury attorney to help you determine the cause of your injuries and who may be responsible. We will look at every piece of evidence in your case and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Filing a Claim Under the Jones Act
Like worker’s compensation, the employer of a Jones Act sailor has certain responsibilities when an injury is reported. This makes it imperative that if you were injured in the course of employment in U.S. navigable waters, you must file a claim with a supervisor and/or employer as soon as possible. During the time your claim is filed, the vessel owner is responsible for paying for your medical coverage (called “cure”) and to pay an injured worker a daily allowance (called “maintenance.”)
Even if your claims process is started, and even if your employer is paying the above benefits, this does not ensure you a recovery, as insurance companies may deny your claim by stating that your injury did not actually occur at work, that you are not injured, or that you are not injured to the extent you claim. Benefits may then be terminated, and no award for your injuries will be received.
In order to receive the highest possible total of compensation, it is important that you file the necessary claims paperwork and prepare all necessary medical data. Our lawyers can help. One of the most important aspects in receiving the highest level of compensation is ensuring that your medical records and doctors’ testimony support your level of injury. Our attorneys can work with your health care providers so that when the time comes, if necessary, your case will be ready to go to trial supported by the strongest possible evidence.
Contact a Belleville Jones Act Lawyer From The Cates Law Firm, LLC Today
At The Cates Law Firm, LLC, we strive to ensure that every victim, and, if appropriate, their loved ones, receive compensation for the medical bills associated with the injury, and for potential medical bills, lost wages and all other bills and damages which may accrue in the future, as a result of an injury at work. If you, or a friend or loved one has been seriously injured in a work related accident on the navigable waters of the U.S., we are here to help with your claim.
Call us today at 618-277-3644 for your no cost, no obligation consultation, or contact us online to let us know how we can help you.