The maritime industry has the potential to be dangerous. Employees working aboard a vessel are injured at higher rates than the average American worker. Many work-related maritime injury claims fall under the Jones Act—a federal law that provides some important legal protections to employees. In this article, our Houston Jones Act attorneys highlight four key differences between maritime injury claims and most other types of work injury claims.
- Maritime Workers Can Often Sue Their Employer for a Job-Related Injury
Most workplace accidents—both in Texas and in other U.S. jurisdictions—fall under state-level workers’ compensation laws. Injured employees seek compensation for their accident through a workers’ comp claim. As workers’ comp is generally a so-called “exclusive” legal remedy, workers are prevented from filing a personal injury lawsuit. Jones Act claims are different. Under the Jones Act, an injury seaman can file a personal injury lawsuit directly against their employer.
- Jones Act Lawsuits are Based on Fault
While a workers’ compensation claim is often the exclusive legal remedy that an injured employee has against their employer, they are not required to prove “fault” to recover financial support through workers’ comp. Jones Act claims are different. A Jones Act claim does require a finding of fault in order to establish liability. You must prove that your employer’s negligence contributed to your accident/injuries. Notably, the federal Jones Act legally requires maritime employers to provide a “seaworthy” vessel to their workers. If you or your loved one was injured because a vessel was not seaworthy, then you can have the right to hold the employer liable. An unseaworthy vessel means that an employer was negligent.
- Full Compensation Can be Recovered Through a Jones Act Claim
In Texas (and other states) most workers’ comp claims are focused on medical coverage and wage replacement. Unlike with other types of personal injury lawsuits, you cannot recover financial compensation for pain and suffering through a workers’ comp claim. However, the Jones Act is different. As the Jones Act allows injured seaman (maritime workers) to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against their employer, it allows them to seek full and fair financial compensation for their damages, including for pain and suffering and other intangible losses. For this reason, there is often a lot more at stake in a Jones Act claim than there is in your average workers’ compensation case. Do not go up against a maritime employer all on your own. Get help from a top-rated Jones Act attorney. Your lawyer will help you maximize your financial recovery.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Texas Jones Act Injury Attorney
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Houston Jones Act injury lawyer has the professional skills and legal expertise that you can trust. If you or your family member was hurt while aboard a sea-faring vessel, we can help. Contact us now for your free, no obligation case review. Our law firm handles Jones Act injury claims in Houston, Texas, and throughout the wider Gulf Coast Region.