Beaumont Jones Act Lawyer
Admiralty & Maritime Workplace Injury Law
Working aboard a seabound vessel is extremely dangerous. Seamen face danger not only from inclement weather, underwater objects, and other hazards of the open sea but also from the negligence of their employers and other crew members. When water-bound workers are injured on the job, they deserve to be compensated for their injuries. Often, the coverage offered by the Texas workers’ compensation laws is inadequate to properly compensate workers and their families for the damages they have suffered. Thankfully, the federal government implemented the Jones Act, which protects seafaring workers in the event of an accident or illness suffered while engaging in their work duties. Gilbert Adams Law Offices zealously represents clients in legal issues relating to accidents and injuries that occur on navigable waters.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 or the Jones Act of 1920, is a federal law that governs the operation of vessels in American waters as well as maritime workers’ rights after a workplace injury. The Jones Act came about after the RMS Titanic sank in 1912. Nearly 700 crew members perished in the tragedy, opening the eyes of the government and the people about the dangers of working on a vessel.
The Jones Act ensures that U.S. citizens working as seamen who suffer injury or illness on the job are covered. Workers have the right to bring claims for the unseaworthiness of a vessel or negligence leading to an accident on navigable waters. The law governs maritime commerce transported between U.S. ports and also grants additional protections to maritime employees. The Jones Act is specifically written to give maritime workers the power to sue employers for negligence and secure additional damages beyond that which is provided by workers’ compensation laws.
How does the Jones Act differ from workers’ compensation?
The legal processes and rights available under the Jones Act are different from traditional workers’ compensation claims. With traditional workers’ compensation, you work with your employer and their insurance provider to secure coverage for your injuries. You will typically only file a lawsuit if a third party was involved or if something else goes wrong with the insurance claim.
In contrast, the Jones Act requires that you file a lawsuit to recover damages. Additionally, unlike with workers’ compensation, you must prove fault to recover. You may bring a claim for damages only if you can show that your employer or another crew member was at least partially at fault for the accident or injury that befell you while on the job. You can bring a claim, for example, if the injury resulted from poor maintenance of a vessel or inadequate safety training. If you were solely responsible for your workplace injury, then you cannot rely on the Jones Act.
The Jones Act offers a much broader universe of damages than workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ comp typically limits you to medical expenses, lost wages, and disability payments. Under the Jones Act, you can essentially sue for whatever damages you could recover under a typical personal injury claim. You can seek medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In addition to typical personal injury damages, you may also seek additional compensation if the vessel or crew is deemed unseaworthy, and even pursue punitive damages if your employer wrongfully refused payment or medical care. The vessel owner or operator owes you a duty to keep your vessel safe and seaworthy, and if they violate that duty, they must be held responsible.
Get Help from Knowledgeable and Dedicated Maritime Accident Lawyers
Admiralty & Maritime law is a complex web of laws, statutes, and regulations, often involving multiple jurisdictions, including different states and even countries. If you are a crew member on a vessel and you were injured as a result of your employer’s negligence, you need a seasoned, detail-oriented, and zealous attorney in your corner to build your strongest case and fight for what you are owed. The maritime accident lawyers at the Gilbert Adams Law Firm have the respect of our peers and numerous referrals from satisfied clients to illustrate these qualities over the past 70 years. Call Gilbert Adams Law Offices in Beaumont at 409-835-3000 for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced Texas Jones Act attorney.