Addressing Maritime and Business Law Issues Since 1989

Filing a Jones Act claim

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Maritime Law |

The Jones Act provides extensive financial coverage for injuries suffered by those who work on the high seas. Prior to the passage of the Jones Act, seamen received no financial protection for injuries suffered during the course of their work.

After passage of the Jones Act in 1920, a seaman who is injured on the navigable waters of the United States is eligible for financial compensation for injuries suffered while they are working.

Coverage under the Jones Act is not automatic. An injured seaman must report the injury to the captain of the vessel or the seaman’s supervising officer within seven days from the date of the injury. The claimant must then provide documentation to support the claim within 60 days. If these deadlines are met, the claim may still be denied, and a further appeal may be required.

If the claim is denied, the injured seaman has the option of commencing an action for judicial review of the decision in any federal court having jurisdiction over the vessel. Deciding state court jurisdiction for a Jones Act lawsuit is a very complicated legal question that is far beyond the scope of this blog post.

What can be recovered in a Jones Act claim?

Most Jones Act claims involve a physical injury suffered by the seaman filing the claim. Damages may include “maintenance and cure,” which refers to some replacement of wages and medical care until the seaman reaches the maximum level of medical improvement.

The injury must be the result of the ship owner’s negligence or by the vessel’s unseaworthiness. Examples of negligence include the owner’s failure to provide a safe working environment, inadequate training, or faulty equipment.

Workers’ compensation and the Jones Act

Virtually all of the 50 states have enacted workers’ compensation laws. These statutes provide coverage for injuries suffered during the course and scope of the workers’ employment. Some workers may be eligible for coverage under both types of statutes.

RSS Feed

FindLaw Network