Jones Act Benefits
Commercial seamen and fishermen face severe unpredictable risks that make their jobs one of the most dangerous out there. Hundreds of accidents occur every year in the San Diego port. Because of harsh weather conditions‚ long and exhausting work hours‚ and high seas‚ it becomes especially important to keep the decks and the vessel maintained properly.
The Jones Act‚ also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 was passed to protect seamen who are injured or killed while working on a vessel in navigable waters. Jones Act is a fault-based system‚ and you must prove negligence to get compensation under the Jones Act. The Jones Act also covers injuries caused due to an employer’s negligence and vessels that are unseaworthy. A vessel is unseaworthy if it is not properly built or maintained‚ thereby creating an unsafe working environment for the crew. Employers may also be negligent‚ or careless‚ for failing to provide reasonably safe working conditions for their crewmembers.
Who is covered?
To qualify for Jones Act benefits‚ a seaman must:
- Work at sea more or less permanently – spent at least 30% of time on a vessel at the time the injury occurred. This is the definition the court will look at.
- Be assigned to a vessel or fleet of vessels (i.e. cargo boats‚ tug boats‚ crew boats‚ drilling ships‚ transportation vessels‚ and supply boats) Other vessels may also fall under this category‚ depending on what the vessel is used for.
- Work on a vessel that is still in navigation. ’In navigation’ means that a vessel is still capable of moving about with a few modifications.
What benefits does the Jones Act cover?
Under the Jones Act‚ the injured seaman is eligible for financial compensation for a variety of damages‚ including “maintenance” and “cure.”
The Jones Act covers:
- Maintenance: Living expenses while off work due to injury
- Cure: Medical treatment‚ medications‚ and rehabilitation
- Vocational training for a new job if injury prevents the seaman from returning to the previous job
What should I do if I am injured?
- Notify your employer immediately and seek medical assistance for your injury.
- Give written notice of your injury or death to your employer within 30 days of the accident.
- File a written claim for compensation within one year after the date of injury.
A claim for survivor benefits must be filed within one year after the date of death. The time for filing claims in certain occupational disease cases has been extended to two years.
When Should I Contact a San Diego Jones Act Lawyer?
It is important to act quickly; otherwise you may lose your chance to get the compensation you deserve. The laws that seamen must abide by are extremely complicated and often require a qualified‚ experienced‚ and knowledgeable San Diego Jones Act attorney. Fortunately‚ the attorneys at the Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers work hard to get you the benefits you need and deserve. Call our law office for a free consultation at (619) 233-5020 or (888) 233-5020.