Jones Act Injury Lawyer in Louisiana
The Jones Act was created because of the dangers that merchant mariners face in doing their jobs. It grants mariners and marine workers who have been injured while in the service of an American-flagged ship or vessel the right to sue for compensation if the accident was caused by negligence or carelessness of a ship owner, captain or fellow crew.
The Jones Act requires that commerce between U.S. ports on the inland and intracoastal waterways be reserved for vessels that are:
- U.S. Built
- U.S. Owned
- Registered under U.S. Law
- U.S. Manned
The exclusive class of persons to whom the Jones Act allows recovery is seamen and fishermen on commercial vessels. To qualify as a seaman you must be a member (man or woman) of the crew of a vessel or someone assigned to the vessel. The crew member's duties must contribute to the function of the vessel, and must have a connection to a vessel in terms of both its duration and its nature of mission.
Some of the maritime jobs covered by the Jones Act include deckhand, deck engineer, tankerman, cook, barge foreman, fishermen on commercial fishing boats such as shrimp and crab boats, and captain. You have a right under the Jones Act to have a jury trial to determine whether your injury was caused by negligence.
Contact the maritime law firm that injured mariners turn to when their future is at stake—Gordon, Elias and Seely, L.L.P. Our admiralty law and maritime attorneys have been successful in securing settlements and verdicts on behalf of injured workers and families of maritime workers who have died in wrongful death accidents.
Negligence may include poor maintenance of a vessel, inadequate or untrained crew, assaults by fellow crewmen within scope of work, faulty equipment or failure to take safety precautions such as failure to avoid heavy weather. Failure to provide medical treatment, and failure to rescue are also included in the list of situations for bringing a negligence suit.
Probably the second most well known legal theory for seaman's claims is one for unseaworthiness against the vessel’s owner. A vessel may be considered unseaworthy, if a piece of equipment such as a crane, winch, sling, hatch or personnel basket breaks and causes an accident. The entire vessel need not be unseaworthy, only the part that caused the seaman’s injury. Often times a vessel may start out seaworthy and then become unseawothy due to unexpected circumstances such a what happened during the Transocean oil rig explosion. Claims for unseaworthiness are brought against the vessel owner, unlike negligence claims which are brought against an employer.
The Jones Act covers deckhands and crews on fleeting tugboats and barge tows on the Mississippi River, tugs and tank barges dedicated to bunker service and crews on towed platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The Jones Act even covers seamen's injuries that occur as marine vessels are locking through a lock on an inland waterway. In addition, injuries are covered are not directly work related, such as if a seamen's injury occurs during their living aboard the vessel or in his/her coming or leaving the vessel.
As a maritime worker, you work hard to earn a living. It’s important to find a Jones Act lawyer who will work just as hard to assert your legal rights. The Jones Act outlines which mariners and seamen are covered by the law. Jones Act rights cover deckhands, mates, engineers, second mates, relief captains, captains, roustabouts, roughnecks, pipe handlers, drillers, pilots, tanker men, anchor tends and other regular crew. Basically, if you worked on a commercial vessel and contributed to the mission of the vessel in navigation, you may qualify as a Jones Act seaman.
If you do not regularly serve on a ship, your maritime injury may be covered under another part of maritime law, such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act or general maritime law. A Jones Act attorney at Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P., will review your accident and explain your legal options free of charge.
Damages permitted under the Jones Act
Damages permitted under the Jones Act include: medical expense, pain and suffering, loss of wages, loss of support to the seaman's widow or dependents, loss of value of household services, nurture etc., funeral expenses, loss of fringe benefits, and mental anguish.
In survival or wrongful death actions, where a seaman dies, pain and suffering occurring prior to death are recoverable, in addition to medical expenses and wages.
There are time limits on filing Jones Act claims. Typically, the statute of limitation for filing is three years from the date of the accident. You shouldn’t delay in contacting a qualified Jones Act attorney as soon as possible after a serious injury.
Experienced Jones Act Attorney in Louisiana
If you have been injured in a maritime accident, you owe it to yourself and your family to understand your legal options under the Jones Act and other applicable maritime laws. You need a clear understanding of your options so that you can make the best decision about your future. If one of our Jones Act attorneys represents you, you will not pay any lawyer’s fee unless we obtain money for you.
Call 800-773-6770 or fill out the online contact form to receive a free initial consultation. One of our Louisiana Jones Act lawyers at Gordon, Elias and Seely, L.L.P., can make sure your rights are protected.