The Jones Act was devised to protect sailors from mistreatment while on the job and requires that employers provide healthcare to their maritime workers and ensure safe working conditions. Moreover, there is a provision under the Jones Act regarding clear-cut criteria for the maintenance of vessels, safety equipment onboard such as lifeboats, and employee training and qualifications.
Working in the water transport industry can be hazardous. In addition to poor weather conditions, fires and collisions can cause severe property damage, injury to employees, and even death. Under the Jones Act or other federal maritime law, you may have a right to compensation if you or your family member have been injured or killed while on the job. The specific law that applies to your position depends typically on your situation and how exactly you were injured.
Is the Jones Act the Same as Worker’s Compensation?
No the procedures for seeking damages under the Jones Act and Workers’ Compensation are different. Workers’ Compensation is generally covered by the state that the accident occurred in. Since much of maritime work occurs outside of a state’s boundaries, employees can’t be covered by state Workers’ Compensation laws.
In the instance of making a Workers’ Compensation claim, an employee will generally liaise directly with the employer and their insurance company unless there is a disagreement or if there is a claim by a third party. The Jones Act necessitates that you file a suit to be able to gain any compensation whatsoever.
In addition, unlike with a Workers’ Compensation claim, the Jones Act requires that you prove that your employer, or another crew member, was at least partially at fault for the accident to get any financial reimbursement for damages. Furthermore, whereas Workers Compensation payments are generally restricted to medical bills and disability expenses, the Jones Act will include supplementary compensation for non-economic damages like emotional distress, pain and suffering or, other fringe benefits.
How Can an Employer Be at Fault under the Jones Act?
An employer can be deemed at fault under the Jones Act if the working conditions aboard their ships are unsafe and can include the following situations:
- Poorly maintained equipment
- Damaged equipment
- Unsafe working conditions
- Oil, grease or other similar substances on the deck
- A failure to provide employees with the correct equipment for the tasks they are asked to handle
- Improper training or a lack of training of the crew
- Assault by a co-worker
- Negligence by any of the claiming seaman’s co-workers
Furthermore, if an employer loses their life due to the employer’s disregard for safety, then a family can recover under the Death on High Seas Act.
The Houston based lawyers at Williams Hart & Boundas know the intricacies of maritime law and may be able to help you or your family member that has been injured while on a vessel, ship, barge, or boat. When it comes to protecting injured employees on Texas water and applying the Jones Act, Williams Hart & Boundas is determined to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. There is no fee for an initial case evaluation and absolutely no costs until you receive payment, so contact Williams Hart & Boundas today.