In 1920 Congress enacted the Merchant Marine Act. It was later changed and today it is known as the Jones Act. Offshore seamen are covered as well as seaman working in inland waters. The Jones Act is similar to worker’s compensation yet they are completely separate laws. The Jones act provides remedies for injured seamen against their employer or employers. Also, if an injury results in death, the seaman’s beneficiaries may be entitled to compensation, awards, or other benefits.
Under the Jones Act, the owner of the vessel must maintain the vessel to ensure that it is seaworthy at all times. Also, if a vessel owner, other maritime workers, or captain is proven to have displayed negligence resulting in an injury, the employee will be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and wage losses. Monetary awards may be granted in some Jones Act lawsuits against a negligent employer.
Under the Jones Act, a ship or vessel includes different water-going vessels, ships, or other floating or movable rigs. They include but are not limited to various barges, tankers, diving vessels, research vessels, fishing vessels, cargo ships, drill ships, and many others. An experienced Jones Act lawyer can determine if the vessel in which their client works is included under the Jones Act.
The Jones act is a federal law. Interestingly, cases can be heard on the state level as well as the federal level. A Jones Act claim made in the state of Kentucky may be heard the Kentucky state court. In this situation, the trial will follow Kentucky state court guidelines and procedures. A reputable Jones Act lawyer will be able to determine whether your case should be heard on the state or federal level.
Kentucky residents that have been injured during their maritime job are highly recommended to contact a Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible following an injury. There are statutes of limitation regarding Jones Act claims that are generally set at three years. In Kentucky, the initial consultation with a lawyer may be free, however this is not always the case. Be sure to ask you Jones Act lawyer about his or her fees and any other costs associated with your Jones Act claim. It is important to consult with an experienced Jones Act lawyer especially if the employer is refusing to pay any medical bills or other required compensation due to a work-related injury.
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