The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, frequently called the Jones Act, establishes rights for seafarers and protects those injured in workplace accidents. The Jones Act is similar to a worker’s compensation claim for seafarers, except a Jones Act negligence claim provides you a wider array of recovery options following your injury if you prove your employer was at fault.
To recover under the Jones Act, you must first prove that you were a “seaman.”
To prove seaman status, you must show:
“In navigation” means voyaging, at anchor, berthed, or at dockside ready for voyage. A “substantial connection” to a vessel means it must be more than merely sporadic, temporary, or incidental, and you must be regularly exposed to the special hazards and disadvantages of a seaman’s work.
The Jones Act provides these rights to seamen:
You need an experienced maritime trial attorney to pursue your Jones Act remedies. The Statute of Limitations to file a lawsuit under the Jones Act is three years.
Many of these rights are powerful tools to get you compensation after you have suffered a severe injury, but the special rules are hard to navigate for a regular lawyer. The maritime lawyers at Mase Seitz Briggs know how to pursue these claims and will get you the maximum compensation.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured working on board a vessel, you may have a claim for “unseaworthiness” against the shipowner. One important difference between a Jones Act negligence claim and an unseaworthiness claim is that, under the Jones Act, the connection between the negligence and the injury need only be slight. This is often referred to as the “featherweight causation standard,” which makes it easier for crew members to prevail.
Choosing which standard to bring a claim under is a crucial decision. This is why you need a team of highly skilled and experienced maritime trial lawyers to represent you if you are a crew member and suffered an injury while employed, whether on the ship or ashore.
General maritime law requires shipowners to provide seaworthy vessels to their crew. If the shipowner breaches this duty, they may be liable for your injuries and damages.
To be seaworthy, a vessel must be:
If a vessel does not provide these things, it could be deemed unseaworthy. Unseaworthiness claims may result from:
Unlike a negligence claim, a claim for unseaworthiness is based in “strict liability.” Strict liability means that if your injury was caused by an unseaworthy condition on board the vessel, you may be able to recover against the shipowner even if it was not negligent.
Similar to land-based personal injury law, the factual scenarios that can give rise to a negligence or unseaworthiness claim are virtually limitless. The creative, experienced, and aggressive maritime trial lawyers at Mase Seitz Briggs in Miami, Florida, will help you recover for injuries that occurred in the course of maritime employment, or you will not pay.