Anyone who has spent time earning a living on the ocean can tell you that it’s a dangerous business. The sheer unpredictability of the ocean can put even the most experienced of workers or the strongest of ships at risk.
These conditions demand competence and professionalism from all of the crew members of any seagoing vessel, whether it’s a tugboat, barge, cruise ship or fishing boat. Anything less places lives at risk.
While it is true that working on our oceans is inherently dangerous, that fact does not absolve the shipowner, captain or crew members from responsibility should one of their employees or fellow workers suffer an injury.
Jones Act: Injuries Due to Negligence
The Jones Act allows for workers to bring suit for the recovery of damages in the event that the accident occurred due to negligence or incompetence. If the shipowner, captain, or other member of the crew was negligent or incompetent, or if the vessel was poorly maintained, not seaworthy or unfit for its intended purpose, the injured worker has every right to bring those responsible to account for their actions. They are allowed to file suit to recover future economic loss, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of capacity to enjoy life, loss of the ability to maintain a household, and other damages.
In other words, your rights as an American are not suspended because you do work that can be dangerous, or because you were not on U.S. soil when the injury occurred. However, there are some differences in laws and procedures that will require an attorney with complete knowledge of maritime law and experience in working maritime cases.
Maintenance and Cure
Entitlements for which an injured sailor are automatically eligible are: Maintenance and Cure are automatic under the Jones Act, and are to be implemented even if the injury happened for reasons that were nobody’s fault. Click here for more information on Maintenance and Cure.
Finding an Experienced Jones Act & Maritime Lawyer
If you are an injured seaman, you need protect yourself and your family by talking to an experienced maritime lawyer. Richard Serpe gained a Masters Degree in maritime law from Tulane University School of law after graduating law school. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.
The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC has helped victims of serious injuries, and families affected by a wrongful death, for over 29 years. If you need help, contact Richard Serpe to setup a free consultation 877-544-5323.