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Maritime Injuries (Jones Act)

The Jones Act is a law that provides protection to individuals who are members of a crew of a ship or vessel and applies to inland river workers as well as merchant mariners on the seas.  The Jones Act governs the liability of vessel operators and employers when there is a work-related injury or death of an employee in the course of their duties aboard the vessels.  Our maritime attorneys have represented clients employed in a variety of river and gulf industries, including Offshore Oil, Barge Operations, Grain Transfer Platforms, and Shipping.

Land based employees are protected under laws that most seaman are not.  For example, maritime workers typically will not qualify for federal or state based workers’ compensation after being injured.  Since seamen are unable to file for benefits after employer negligence the way land based employees can, part of the Jones Act was created to help maritime workers recover damages from accidents and injuries.  Injured seamen who are protected under the Jones Act can include a myriad of different professions, including:

  • Fisherman
  • Cooks
  • Stewards
  • Deckhands
  • Engineers
  • Mates
  • Captains
  • Drillers
  • Pilots
  • Divers
  • Anchors

Anyone who works on navigable water and contributes to the work of vessel for at least 30% of their work time in navigable water are usually protected under The Jones Act.

Jones Act cases are different from workers’ compensation and personal injury cases.  The “other side” in these cases is giant companies that are used to getting their own way.  Our attorneys understand the need to compensate you, but also see the way to send the message that operating offshore does not put these companies beyond the law.  When an injury occurs because of a third party’s negligence, our firm is prepared to file a personal injury claim based on product liability, which raises the amount you may be compensated by.  In such cases, the Jones Act is not your only recourse.

Types of maritime injuries may include:

  • Injuries on offshore oil rigs and jack up rigs
  • Injuries aboard cargo ships
  • Injuries on commercial fishing boats
  • Barge accidents
  • Dock and shipyard accidents
  • Crew injuries on charter fishing boats and tour boats

Victims of oil rig accidents and other offshore injury accidents may have negligence lawsuits against their employers under the federal Jones Act, in addition to free medical care and lost wages.  Dock workers are entitled to specific benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.  The attorneys at SL Chapman can detail specific rights under these special laws.

If you are an offshore worker and were hurt on a vessel and it is believed that negligence on behalf of the vessel’s owner contributed in any way to your accident, then you are justified in filing a Jones Act claim.  If you are able to obtain settlement in a Jones Act case, this means that your lost wages will likely be compensated for and it is possible that compensation for pain, medical care, and cost of living during the time of recovery will also be compensated for.

SL Chapman admiralty and maritime attorneys have established fault on the part of employers in many cases, even some that other attorneys turned down.  Our centralized locations allow us to be at the scene of an injury within hours.  Early investigation by our skilled teams is vital because the company will not waste time attempting to minimize liability.  Our personal injury lawyers have gained a reputation nationwide for aggressive representation of injured people.  We are ready to help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve.  Contact our office today at 1-800-550-2106 for a free initial legal consultation.