Roberts Markland LLP represents plaintiffs in Jones Act and Maritime Lawsuits in Houston, TX. Call 713-630-0900 today for a free consultation and case review.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, protects those who are injured while working at sea. Other maritime law also governs injuries at sea, depending on the specifics of the case, but a Jones Act case is the most common way to recover damages.
Is the Jones Act the Same as Workers Comp?
The Jones Act can be seen as the maritime version of workers’ compensation, but it is not exactly the same thing. While workers comp is paid regardless of fault, a Jones Act case requires you to prove negligence. However, if you can prove your case, you can recover full damages.
Economic damages compensate you for lost wages and loss of earning capacity in addition to past and future medical expenses, while non-economic damages pay for pain and suffering, and may also be awarded to punish your employer for egregious conduct. While there is a cap on workers comp damages, there is no cap on Jones Act damages.
Do I Qualify as a “Seaman”?
The Jones Act states that “qualified seamen” are eligible to recover damages, but it does not clearly define the term. Past case law generally shows that a person who is assigned to work on a vessel or fleet that operates in navigable waters, and who spends at least 30% of his or her work hours on board, is a qualified seaman. Still, it is important to have an experienced offshore injury attorney represent you in this matter.