When most people get hurt on the job, they have worker’s compensation to help them. It can help pay for medical bills and cover the wages they lose out on as they recover.
However, the story may be much different for maritime workers. That’s because the rules for work on the water differ from those on land. If you get injured on the job, you must seek compensation through the Jones Act, a specialized area of maritime law.
Here is what you need to know about the Jones Act and what you need to prove to be successful in your claim.
What Is the Jones Act?
Congress enacted The Jones Act to protect those injured while working near or on the water. Prior to this law, these employees had no safeguard in place if something were to happen on the job and they were injured.
To win a case under the Jones Act, you must be able to demonstrate to the court that you were hurt carrying out duties related to your job and that the harm caused to you was the result of negligence on the part of your employer. Basically, the burden of proof lies with the person bringing the lawsuit, so you must show specific things to succeed.
What Do You Need to Prove?
What things do you need to prove in order to have a successful case under the Jones Act? Remember, the burden is on you to make your case, so you and your experienced attorney must prove the following things:
You Must Show You’re Eligible
In order to qualify to bring a lawsuit under the Jones Act, you must first show that you are eligible to do so as an employee of a company that works on or near the water. Then you show you are eligible for the benefits under the Jones Act and that the injury you sustained happened while you were working or on a vessel.
You Must Prove Negligence
Just because you were working at sea does not mean your employer was negligent in a way that contributed to your injury. You now have to demonstrate that your employer acted, or didn’t act, in a way that contributed to your injuries – such as failing to provide you with the duty of care, safety violations, or lax maintenance.
You Must Prove Your Injury
This one may seem obvious, but it’s an important element. You must show through medical documentation that your injury keeps you from working. Sometimes an accident report can support this claim, but other documentation may be needed for injuries that occur over time, such as repetitive motion injuries.
Showing you’re covered by the Jones Act is a major advantage in your fight to be awarded damages. However, you need an experienced attorney who understands the ins and outs of maritime law and how maritime courts and judges work in these cases. The dynamics in these courts can be much different than in other state-level courts, so you need knowledge on your side.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all personal injury cases, focusing on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in representing injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, and has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2022– an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2022, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2022.