5 Tips About The Jones Act

5 Tips About The Jones Act

Employees in the maritime industry who are injured on the job may find themselves in a unique predicament if they need financial assistance. Traditionally, maritime workers do not qualify for standard federal or state workers’ compensation, but are covered under The Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal statute regulating the maritime industry, and also offers protections for maritime workers who have been injured by negligence.

If you are a maritime worker and you have been injured by the negligence of an employer or other party during the course of your employment, it is important that you understand your rights and options. Here are 5 tips about The Jones Act to help you maximize protection of your rights and future:

  1. Get Medical Treatment Promptly after an Injury: If you have been injured on the job, your first priority should be getting prompt medical attention and treatment. Make sure that you keep records of any treatment, invoices, prescriptions, tests and results, and communications between you and your healthcare providers.
  2. Report your Injury: Under The Jones Act, you are required to report a workplace injury to your supervisor within seven days. In most cases, it is best to report the injury immediately if possible, or immediately following medical treatment.
  3. Make Sure you Meet the Requirements to File a Claim: In order to file a claim under The Jones Act, you must meet certain requirements. For example, you must be considered a “seaman”, must work on a vessel in “navigable waters”, and must meet certain negligence criteria. An outline of the process for Jones Act claims can be found here.
  4. Consult a Maritime Attorney: For many workers in the maritime industry, the provisions of The Jones Act are the only option they have to recover financially after a workplace injury. The guidance of a maritime attorney can be an invaluable resource to help manage communication, protect your rights, and achieve the best outcome possible.
  5. Discuss Options of Settlement Versus Trial: As a general rule, it is advised that you do not settle or resolve a Jones Act case until you have been restored to “maximum health”, or have returned to work. You may have the option of settling your case out of court, or proceeding to trial. The individual facts of your case will largely determine which option is best for you. In any case, it is helpful to discuss your options with your attorney.

If you are a maritime worker and have been injured on-the-job, it is important that you explore your legal rights and the unique protections of The Jones Act. These tips about the Jones Act can be a helpful starting point as you assess your eligibility and legal options. To learn more about maritime law and The Jones Act, please fill out the contact form on this page for a no-obligation, no-cost case review.