Workers in the maritime industry work hard for a living. After two decades of working in maritime law and representing injured seamen, George Vourvoulias knows well the pride that maritime workers take in their profession.
Unfortunately, it’s also a dangerous industry. That’s why maritime law guarantees seamen the right to sue their employers for compensation if they’re injured on the job.
The Jones Act is the most important law in this area, and it’s essential that you understand the rights it grants you as a maritime worker. George Vourvoulias, experienced Louisiana maritime injury lawyer, explains below.
What is The Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a federal law passed in 1915 in an effort to protect the rights of crewmen who were injured or got sick while on the job.
The Act guarantees you, as a maritime worker, to 3 basic rights:
- Safe working conditions
- The ability to pick your own doctor after an illness or injury
- Compensatory damages after a work-related injury
That last one is what The Jones Act is all about. If your employer showed any negligence at all that contributed to your injury, they are liable to pay you compensation for the losses you’ve suffered as a result of your injury.
What kind of compensation can you receive under The Jones Act?
What’s unique about the maritime industry is that seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure as compensation for their injuries. Maintenance and cure means you will receive automatic periodic payments throughout the period of your recovery.
“Maintenance” refers to maintaining your lifestyle while you are recovering or out of work, and should equal your current living expenses, including:
- Basic phone
“Cure” refers to medical treatment and recovery, and should compensate you for any of the following:
- Medical bills
- Insurance costs
- Recovery/treatment expenses
In addition to maintenance and cure, The Jones Act ensures that you may also pursue additional damages, such as those often seen in land-based personal injury cases:
- 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
How do I know if I’m entitled to compensation under the Jones Act?
The Jones Act protects seamen, or workers who spend a significant amount of time working as a crew member or a captain on a ship or boat in navigation.
By “in navigation,” the law means that in order to qualify, the vessel must be:
- In operation,
- Capable of moving, and
- On navigable waters
The ship or boat does not have to be moving or at sea in order to qualify, but the vessel must be considered seaworthy. (The ship could be docked, for example, in the Gulf Coast.)
If your occupation fits this description, you are covered under the Jones Act.
In order to sue for compensation for an injury or illness you got on the job, you will need to prove that your employer or the owner of the boat was negligent in some way, and that that negligence led to your injury.
Write down as much information about the incident as you can remember while it’s still fresh in your mind. Make sure to describe any and all factors contributing to an unsafe workplace, including the following:
- Negligent co-workers
- Untrained or undertrained co-workers
- Insufficient or defective equipment
- Insufficient manpower
- Unsafe procedures
- Anything else that may have contributed to the accident
Once you have this information, you can begin to work with an experienced maritime lawyer to file your lawsuit and prove that you are entitled to compensation.
Contact The Maritime Injury Law Firm
At The Maritime Injury Law Firm, our experienced Louisiana Jones Act legal team will work tirelessly to make sure that you are receiving the full compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.