The Jones Act is another way to refer to the Merchant Marine Act of 1920,
which is a federal law allowing workers at sea to sue their employers
for work injuries caused by negligence. If a vessel owner, company, shipmaster,
or fellow crew member contributes to a maritime worker’s severe
injury, that worker can sue the responsible party for damages.
Typically, if a worker is injured on the job, he or she could either file
for workers’ compensation or sue his or her employer for damages.
In some states, if the employer has workers’ compensation insurance,
the worker is barred from filing a personal injury suit at all. However,
the Jones Act specifically allows these workers to sue for damages if
his or her employer or fellow workers committed an act of negligence leading
to the employee’s injury.
The Jones Act also makes the plaintiff’s burden of proof lower than
that of a standard personal injury lawsuit. If a worker sues, the employer
is still at fault even if the worker contributed in some way to the accident
that caused the injury. The degree of the defendant’s responsibility
compared to the plaintiff’s only affects the size of the financial
In order to qualify to use the Jones Act, a person must contribute to the
function of a vessel, which could include a wide arrange of areas. Likewise,
a “vessel” is considered any sea boat that goes out to sea
and travels from one port to another. A ship permanently attached to the
sea floor and incapable of moving wouldn’t be considered a vessel.
Successful Jones Act lawsuits usually result in compensation for lost wages,
medical costs, permanent disfigurement, mental and emotional trauma, lost
earning capacity, past and future economic loss, physical pain and suffering,
and loss of enjoyment of life.
Make sure you file a suit before the statute of limitation is up. There
is a 3-year statute of limitations on these lawsuits, after which your
case will not be considered by the court. These cases can be complicated,
so the sooner you get started, the better.
If you’re interested in discussing your case with an experienced
NYC Jones Act lawyer, let us help.
Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP is dedicated to helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve.
Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (646) 461-4009 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case