Dating all the way back to the 1920s, the Jones Act has provided federal safeguards for a wide range of maritime laborers injured on the job. The statute recognizes the inherent dangers of this type of work and is designed to compensate seamen for lost wages and health care expenses incurred as a result of harm sustained.
If you are interested in claiming benefits following an incident on a ship, oil rig, or another eligible vessel, a Mount Pleasant Jones Act lawyer can help you navigate what can sometimes be a confusing, complicated process. An experienced injury attorney in Mount Pleasant can build a case to help maximize any potential damages you may be owed.
Facts About the Jones Act
At its heart, 46 USC § 883, commonly referred to as the Jones Act, establishes a framework for which seamen are able to claim compensation for injuries suffered or illnesses acquired while working aboard vessels on navigable waterways.
Maritime laborers are entitled to receive “maintenance and cure,” meaning that the employer must provide daily compensation and pay the cost of medical care necessitated by the sailor’s condition.
It is also possible for workers to sue for damages if ship owner or crew negligence is alleged or if the vessel at issue is suspected to have been “unseaworthy.” Such damages can be pursued by an experienced Mount Pleasant Jones Act attorney.
Eligibility for Filing a Claim
Seafaring workers eligible for compensation pursuant to a Jones Act Claim must spend no less than 30% working in and on a qualifying vessel, whether it operates on the open seas or on inland rivers and lakes.
The ship, rig, or other watercraft at issue is required to have been in navigation at the time the harm was sustained, though it is possible for those tied up at the dock or in a mooring to qualify, provided they were capable of navigation at the time. Claims of this nature are routinely filed by employees working on vessels that include:
- Offshore oil rigs
- Cargo ships
- Fishing trawlers
- Ferry boats
To better understand any other vessels that may be covered, an individual should contact a Mount Pleasant Jones Act attorney as soon as possible.
For a seaman to recover compensation pursuant to the Jones Act, it is necessary to establish that negligence was responsible for the harm alleged.
Decades of precedent have ensured that the bar in terms of proving negligence on the part of ship operators and related parties is relatively low, making it easier than many might expect to obtain much-needed financial resources after an accident.
Even so, a claimant will need to show that an actor in a position of authority on the vessel did something that an otherwise reasonable personal would not have done, that an action was not taken which reasonably should have been, or that a reasonable precaution against injuries to others was neglected.
Forced amounts of excessive overtime, failure to properly train workers, and failure to provide necessary supervision can also be deemed negligence for the purposes of evaluating a Jones Act claim. Such processes can be best explained by an experienced Mount Pleasant Jones Act attorney.
A ship owner or operator has an obligation to provide workers with a safe and properly maintained vessel, and a failure to do so also creates potential liability under the Jones Act. Some important indicators of unseaworthiness include:
- Lack of regular inspection schedule
- Outdated equipment
- Worn steps and missing handrails
- Cluttered or unstable deck areas
- Missing safety gear
- Oily and flooded decking surfaces
- Insufficient crew members for assigned tasks
- Improperly trained or unqualified crew
Compensation Available for Injured Seamen
Those contemplating a claim under the Jones Act may be entitled to receive significant compensation for the harm they have experienced while employed on a qualifying vessel. It is often possible for a skilled Jones Act attorney in Mt Pleasant to aid in the recovery of payments for things such as lost wages, reduced earning potential, medical bills, physical pain, emotional distress and more.
As is the case with all personal injury matters, a thorough evaluation by an experienced legal practitioner is the best place to begin the quest for fairness and accountability.
Contacting a Jones Act Attorney
The realm of law encompassed by the Jones Act can be extremely complex. Therefore, to make sure you achieve compliance with all essential procedural requirements, those harmed on the open waters are well-advised to seek the counsel of a Mount Pleasant Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible after their injury or illness becomes apparent.