The Merchant Marine Act was enacted by the United States Congress in 1920 and was later changed in 1970. It is now commonly referred to most as the Jones Act. Offshore seamen are covered as well as seaman working in inland waters. There is often confusion between the Jones Act and worker’s compensation laws. They are similar. However, they are two totally different laws. The Jones act provides remedies for injured seamen against their employer. If an injury results in death, the seaman’s beneficiaries may be entitled to compensation, awards, or other benefits.
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 states that the owner of the vessel must maintain the vessel to ensure that it is seaworthy at all times. Also, if a vessel owner, captain, other maritime workers are proven to have displayed negligence resulting in an employee’s injury in a legal trial, he or she 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.
The Jones act is a federal law although cases can be heard on the state level as well as the federal level. A Jones Act claim made in the state of Louisiana may be heard the Louisiana state court. In this situation, the trial will follow Louisiana state court guidelines and procedures. Either state or federal court is a factor that can be determined by a reputable Jones Act lawyer.
There are statutes of limitation regarding Jones Act claims that are generally set at three years. If you are a resident in the state of Louisiana and have been injured during your maritime job, it is highly recommended that you contact a Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible following your injury.
In Louisiana, an initial consultation with a Jones Act lawyer may be free of charge. Inquire about all fees and costs before hiring a lawyer. It is important to consult with an experienced Jones Act lawyer if you believe you deserve Jones Act compensation, benefits, or even monetary awards.
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