If you work in the maritime industry, you may work in less than favorable conditions. Those conditions may even be a bit dangerous. You have probably also heard of the Jones Act. Even still, someone has to do the work and it does pay the bills. What happens if you get hurt or become ill while performing your duties at work? That is where you likely will get familiar with the Jones Act and how it can help workers just like you.
As a maritime worker, it is important to understand the protections that the Jones Act offers before an injury or illness occurs. An experienced Texas maritime law attorney can help you understand your legal options, but here are some of the most common questions we get asked about the Jones Act.
Who is Protected Under the Jones Act?
In most situations, the Jones Act provides coverage to crewmembers, masters, and officers. Basically, if an individual is performing job duties on a vessel in navigable waters, he or she will be deemed a seaman under the Jones Act. However, the person must spend 30% or more of their working time at sea. Those workers who spend less than 30% of their working hours at sea will not be covered by the Jones Act. Instead, they will be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or the workers’ compensation laws of Texas.
Jones Act vs. Workers’ Compensation
Workers often mistakenly believe that workers’ compensation benefits and Jones Act benefits are the same, but there is a difference. Unlike workers that work on land, seaman cannot make their injury or illness claims under state workers’ compensation laws. Instead, they have to bring their claims against their employers under the Jones Act. In order to do this, they will have to prove negligence on the part of another seaman, vessel operator or owner, or officer to receive such compensation.
What are My Employers Responsibilities Under the Jones Act?
Employers are required to provide a work environment that is safe to perform the normal duties of the job. Additionally, they have to ensure their workers are trained and that they have safe equipment to work with. If they fail to meet any of these obligations, and someone becomes ill or is injured, they may have a viable claim against their employer.
How Long do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Just like many other types of injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations, or time limit for filing a claim, is three years from the date the injury or illness occurred. However, you need to speak to an experienced attorney to ensure all your rights are protected and that you do not miss any important filing deadlines for your claim. There are certain exceptions to this statute of limitations rule, and your attorney can help you understand the limitations for your specific situation.
Contact an Experienced Maritime Law Attorney Today
The attorneys at Kolodny Law Firm are dedicated to helping seaman get the compensation that they are entitled to under the Jones Act. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.