Maritime workers perform a variety of job duties, some of which are done in less than favorable conditions and others of which are dangerous in nature. Still, someone has to do the work. So what happens when a worker gets hurt or falls ill as a result of performing his or her job duties? Quite often, maritime workers have those types of questions, but they do not know where to turn for accurate answers, but help is available.
A Jones Act lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is ready to assist seamen with their legal concerns. We have extensive experience handling cases involving maritime injuries and illnesses. The following information is provided in response to some of the common questions maritime workers have about their rights under the law; however, it is not intended to take the place of receiving actual legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney.
Am I Protected Under the Jones Act?
Generally, the Jones Act covers crewmembers, officers and masters. Simply put, any individual who performs his or her job duties on a vessel (or group of vessels under common ownership) in navigable waters which aids in the mission of the vessel is deemed to be a seaman for purposes of coverage under the Jones Act, but only if 30 percent or more of the individual’s work time with the employer is spent at sea. Those who spend less than 30 percent of their work hours on a vessel will likely not be covered by the Jones Act, but instead, they will be protected by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or state workers compensation.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Jones Act Claim: What is the Difference?
Many workers assume they are the same, but there is actually a difference between Jones Act coverage and state workers’ compensation. Seaman, unlike workers who perform their job duties on land, do not have a right to make claims under their state’s workers’ compensation laws. Such workers may bring claims for negligence against their employers under the Jones Act. Seamen should note that they will need to demonstrate negligence on the part of a fellow seaman, officer, vessel operator and/or employer in order to receive compensation. We at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. are prepared to assist seaman who are interested in pursuing their legal options.
What is Required of My Employer Under the Act?
Employers are expected and required to provide their workers with a safe place to work in which to perform their job duties. Additionally, employers should sufficiently and properly train their workers and offer safe working equipment. If an employer fails to meet that obligation, and a seaman is injured or becomes ill as a result, that individual may have a viable claim.
How Long After My Injury/Illness Do I Have to Bring a Lawsuit?
Typically, Jones Act lawsuits have a statute of limitations period of three years from the date of injury. However, injured individuals are encouraged to work with well-versed lawyers who can help ensure all rights are preserved and not lost due to missing a prescribed time limitation. There are exceptions to the three-year rule, so it is important for you to know the exact time requirements under the law.
We at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. are happy to speak with you regarding any questions you may have about your rights under the Jones Act or any other laws that may be pertinent to your situation. Call us today at 877-233-1238 or contact us online.