As a seaman, you already know that maritime work can be dangerous and even deadly. You also know the unfortunate truth that boat owners don’t always take care of injured workers.
The good news is – if you get injured and the boat owner considers you “damaged goods,” you have options. Offshore workers have more rights and protections than any other workers in the United States. Under the Jones Act, you are entitled to a variety of benefits.
George Vourvoulias at the Louisiana-based Maritime Injury Law Firm has 20 years of experience fighting for the rights of offshore workers, and he has a deep understanding of the Jones Act and the challenges you’re facing.
Here are 5 facts about the Jones Act that every seaman should know.
1. The Jones Act protests maintenance and cure benefits for injured seamen
The Jones Act was passed in 1915 in an effort to protect the rights of crewmen injured or taken ill in the course of their employment.
Under the Jones Act, injured offshore employees have the right to:
- A safe place to work
- The ability to pick your own doctor after an illness or injury
- Compensatory damages after a work-related injury
Maintenance and cure are two categories of benefits that injured seamen are entitled to under the Jones Act.
Cure benefits for injured seamen
The Jones Act also covers cure benefits, which are the cost of medical care and treatment. In addition to medical bills themselves, these benefits can also cover transportation to and from medical appointments.
Alternatively to maintenance benefits, cure benefits are typically paid directly to your doctor.
2. Injured seamen do not need to prove employer negligence to receive maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act
One of the reasons that the Jones Act is so protective is the low burden of proof. Maritime jobs are so dangerous that injured workers can receive maintenance and cure benefits regardless where fault lies for their injuries.
Therefore, though proof of employer negligence can help your case, you do not need to prove it led to your injuries in order to collect benefits.
The Jones Act follows a comparative negligence policy, which means you can prove one party is more at fault than the other in your accident and for your resulting injuries.
For example, if the court finds you 20% to blame for your injury, then your payout will be reduced by 20%.
However, skilled law firms like the Maritime Injury Law Firm know how to fight against this and ensure you receive your rightful compensation.
3. The Jones Act protects seamen
The Jones Act protects seamen, who are defined under the law as “workers who spend a significant amount of time working as a crewmember or a captain on a ship or boat in navigation.”
The phrase “in navigation” is a crucial part of the definition. Since the law passed over 100 years ago, courts have refined this definition.
The term “in navigation,” the law means that in order for an injured seamen to be considered eligible for Jones Act benefits, the vessel on which they were injured must have been:
- In operation,
- Capable of moving, and
- On navigable waters
4. You can collect a variety of damages under the Jones Act
In addition to maintenance and cure, injured seamen may be able to collect other benefits under the Jones Act – especially if they are able to prove employer negligence led to their accident and injuries.
Some additional benefits injured seamen can sue for include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish, embarrassment, and humiliation
- The inability to engage in recreational activities you previously enjoyed
5. ‘Blacklisting’ is illegal in Louisiana
As you read about the Jones Act, you may find yourself wondering: can I be blacklisted for filing a Jones Act claim or offshore injury claim?
You should know that blacklisting is illegal in Louisiana. Employers may not let other employers know that you exercised your right to protect your health and file a claim, nor can they target you while you are still on the job.
The law is on your side, so don’t be afraid to take control of your life and win the compensation you’re owed.
Contact our dedicated Jones Act attorney at the Maritime Injury Law Firm today
If you were injured on the job as a maritime worker, it might seem like you have nowhere to turn and no one to count on. However, that is far from the case. The Maritime Injury Law Firm is a Louisiana-based firm that has 20 years’ experience fighting for the rights of injured seamen across the Gulf Coast and around the country.
Don’t let your injury be your “one-way ticket home.” Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and level the playing field – we take cases Nationwide.