Get Assistance From a Jones Act Lawyer in New Orleans
Have you suffered an injury in your duties as a seaman? You may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, a law dating back a century that protects the welfare and rights of those who work on vessels. Irpino, Avin & Hawkins Law Firm has assisted many people in your position to learn more about the Jones Act and use it to recover the benefits they deserve after becoming injured on the job.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act, often referred to as the Merchant Marine Act, was enacted in 1920 in response to the events of World War I, when Germany destroyed much of the U.S. fleet. The act provides monetary remedy to seamen who die or become injured as a result of negligence on behalf of a vessel’s owner, master or even another seaman. It’s meant to protect sailors from exploitation, and it demands that employers create a safe work environment and pay for medical expenses should sailors become injured.
The act requires ship owners to meet standards set for:
- Vessel maintenances
- Crew qualification
- Safety equipment, including lifeboats
The rule governs the treatment of seamen, who are defined as in the simplest sense as those who work as crew members on a ship. They generally do not include officers. To qualify as a Jones Act claim, the accident must meet several requirements:
- You must be injured aboard a vessel in navigation, though the ship doesn’t necessarily have to be moving
- You must have “substantial” employment on the ship
- You must contribute to the purpose of the ship you sail on
Who Does the Jones Act Apply To?
The Jones Act covers seamen who work on a wide range of ships, including:
- Semi-submersible ships
- Floating cranes, towboats, drill ships and barges
- Fishing vessels
- Cargo ships and rigs
- Tankers and dredges
- Recreational vessels and cruise ships
Differences Between the Jones Act & Workers Compensation in a Maritime Accident
While both the Jones Act and workers’ compensation can cover benefits after an accident that occurs at sea, the two have major differences, such as:
- Seamen are not eligible to file for workers’ compensation.
- In Jones Act claims, the seaman’s injury must be caused by negligence on the part of the employer. This is not the case for workers’ compensation, which employs a no-fault system.
- Seamen may recover all of their lost wages under the Jones Act. With workers’ compensation, you can only recover a portion of your lost wages.
Jones Act Recovery & Compensation for New Orleans Maritime Workers
If you have sustained an injury that meets the requirements of the Jones Act, you are entitled to compensation for maintenance and cure. What does this mean? Our Jones act law firm explains it to our clients like this. Maintenance covers a seaman’s day-to-day living expenses, while cure covers a seaman’s medical costs.
The maintenance and cure payments will continue only until the seaman is fit for duty. Under the Jones Act, a seaman also can attempt to recover compensation from their employer for:
- Lost Wages: The money you would have earned from your job if you had not gotten injured
- Medical Bills: Hospital and doctor costs, as well as occupational or physical therapy expenses
- Diminished Earning: An injury that leads to long-term consequences that can reduce the amount of money you will make
- Pain and Suffering: This encompasses both the physical and mental anguish brought on by injury, which might include depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Permanent Disability: You may be unable to work again after your accident, forcing you to go on permanent disability and also likely leading to diminished earning
- Diminished Quality of Life: If you have a permanent disability or develop a condition such as depression, it will impact your entire life and could lead to issues completing the simplest of tasks
A Jones Act attorney in New Orleans can advise you more completely on what you can and cannot try to recover. Our lawyers understand maritime law thoroughly and can offer advice based on firsthand experience with other clients to help you decide what action to pursue.
What Should I Do After an Offshore Accident?
If you are hurt or in pain after an accident, stop working immediately. Do not try to “tough it out” or ignore the pain. Report what happened to your supervisor immediately. Make sure to fill out an accident report, so there is a record of what happened and when you reported the injury. Other steps you should take include:
- Request Medical Attention as Soon as Possible: Even if you don’t think you broke anything or sustained a serious injury, you should be evaluated by a professional who can document your medical treatment.
- Take Photographs at the Scene: Document any conditions that may have contributed to the accident, such as spills on the floor or faulty safeguards on equipment.
- Talk to Witnesses: If anyone saw the accident happen, get their information and their take on what happened, and record it for future reference.
Do not sign or record a statement for your employer without speaking with a New Orleans Jones Act lawyer. You do not want to sign off on something you don’t understand or relinquish any rights when you do not fully grasp the situation. An attorney can advise you on what to do next.
How Long Do I Have to File a Jones Act Claim?
Generally, you have three years from the date of the injury to file your claim.
Contact a Jones Act Lawyer in Louisiana Today
If you’ve been injured in an offshore accident in New Orleans, don’t delay in contacting an attorney. Reach out to us as soon as possible, as it will take time to cultivate your case and conduct all the necessary inquiries. We want to ensure you and your family are taken care of during this difficult time.
Get in touch with us today by filling out our online contact form, or learn more about our firm by browsing our practice areas such as maritime and offshore accidents. We look forward to providing you with the assistance you deserve to reach the best outcome in your case.