The Jones Act is a law that protects workers on a vessel or at sea who suffer injuries while performing work tasks. It is similar to workers’ compensation laws that apply to employees land. The Jones Act sets up special rules for when and how a seaman injury is compensable.
The Jones Act can help to ensure that an injury or an illness you sustain does not cause you to experience financial devastation. It is important that you work with a maritime accident lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. to understand if the Jones Act covers you when you get hurt. Give us a call to find out about how we can assist you in making your Jones Act claim.
How Does the Jones Act Protect Workers?
The Jones Act protects workers whose job involves being on a vessel. Many court decisions suggest that if you spend at least 30 percent of your work time doing seamen’s work on a vessel that travels on open or navigable waterways, you should be covered by the Jones Act.
Courts can also apply a two-part test to determine if you are covered by the Jones Act. The test looks at your connections to the vessel (or group of vessels), as measured by the nature of your connection and the duration of the time that you are connected. It also looks at whether your job duties or tasks contribute to helping the vessel function or to ensuring that the vessel can accomplish whatever its mission is.
If you meet the test, you can make a Jones Act claim and get maintenance and cure, which is the term used for medical care (cure) and living expenses (maintenance) for your work injury. While the amount of money you get in maintenance benefits is a small daily allowance, it is better than receiving no income when an illness or injury stops you from working.
Maintenance and cure is available to you after an injury under the Jones Act, no matter who was at fault. This is similar to the way that standard workers’ compensation benefits provide disability income and medical care to all workers hurt on the job.
The Jones Act differs from workers’ comp, though, because Jones Act employees can sue their employers for damages beyond maintenance and cure. An employee who can prove negligence can be compensated for non-financial losses caused by the injury. Negligence is prove able in different ways, including demonstrating that an employer allowed a vessel to become unseaworthy.
Getting Help with the Jones Act
Understanding the basics of the Jones Act is easy, but you need to know much more than just that. You need to understand how best to make a Jones Act claim and prove your right to compensation. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. can offer assistance and advocacy to you. Give us a call today to talk with a maritime accident lawyer about how our legal team can help you to make your claim.