Getting hurt at work can be a nightmare scenario. Not only do you end up seriously injured, but you may also find yourself unable to work. That can leave you with few options as far as paying your medical bills.
Not that long ago, this situation was particularly serious for anyone who worked at sea. Employers might not have insurance to cover the costs of an injury, and workers may not have had any right to make claims for compensation after their injuries, even if their employer was responsible for the injury due to serious negligence.
In order to protect maritime workers, the Jones Act, also known as the Maritime Merchant Act of 1920, includes provisions for financial compensation to workers injured at sea due to employer negligence. If this situation applies to you or a loved one, familiarizing yourself with your rights under the Jones Act may be a wise move.
Working on the ocean is dangerous, more so with a negligent employer
There is a popular quote that the sea is a dangerous mistress. Few people understand this as well as maritime workers. Whether the position in question relates to working on a cargo ship or helping to build and maintain oil rigs, those who work on the open ocean understand that it is both beautiful and incredibly unpredictable.
For some workers, the ocean itself may be a source of danger. Other times, issues with negligence can contribute to an injury. There is very little margin for error on ships and vessels at sea. The Jones Act specifically addresses situations where employer negligence plays a factor in a worker injury. It ensures that workers who get hurt have the right to bring action against their employer.
Workers need to establish negligence to bring a Jones Act suit
Negligence can look like a lot of different things, from failing to provide adequate training and safety equipment to avoiding maintenance because of the expense involved. Proving negligence on the part of your employer may be complicated, but it is a necessary component of a successful Jones Act lawsuit.
Those injured at sea who believe that their employer could have prevented their injury may have grounds to bring a lawsuit under the Jones Act. However, documentation of some sort will likely be necessary. Images of questionable working conditions, copies of inadequate training materials and testimony from co-workers could be forms of evidence that help you validate your claims of negligence in a courtroom.
Maritime injury cases are often incredibly complex, so it is likely in your best interest to speak with someone who has knowledge about the Jones Act and maritime injuries before moving forward with your case.