What Workers Are Covered By The Jones Act?
If you spend more than 30% of your work hours on board a ship or directly contributing to the operation of a ship, you’re likely eligible to file a Jones Act claim. This includes virtually all types of cruise ship employees, including:
- Crew members
- Bartenders and food servers
- Kitchen employees
Determining if you qualify for a Jones Act claim depends on a variety of specific circumstances. It may be helpful to have your case reviewed by a lawyer with experience in maritime law.
Requirements For A Jones Act Claim
In order to file a Jones Act claim, you must prove that some form of negligence contributed to your work injury. This includes mistakes from your co-workers, negligence from your employer (such as failing to follow safety rules), and shipowner negligence (such as failing to keep the vessel safe for travel).
Unlike personal injury lawsuits, you don’t need to prove that this negligence was the main cause of your injury. You only must establish that negligence contributed in some way to your injury.
Workers covered under the Jones Act are also eligible for “maintenance and cure” benefits, which are available even if cases that don’t involve negligence. These benefits provide financial assistance for medical expenses and daily living expenses while a cruise ship employee is unable to return to work
Common Cruise Ship Worker Injuries
Cruise ships that are well-maintained and properly staffed are generally safe, but not every cruise ship line prioritizes safety the way they should. This can lead to injuries both to cruise ship workers and passengers. In either case, it’s important to ask how the injury could have been prevented.
Common cruise ship injuries include:
- Broken bones from falls
- Drowning from falls overboard
- Burn injuries from accidental fires
- Physical and sexual assault
- Exposure to norovirus and other illnesses
If you’ve recently suffered an injury or illness related to your work conditions, it’s important to explore your legal options. Regardless of the nature of your injury, you should at least be entitled to maintenance and cure benefits. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be able to seek additional financial compensation from negligent parties who contributed to your injury.
Common Forms Of Negligence
Negligence can take many forms. Essentially, if your employer in any way failed to keep your work environment free of dangers which could cause an injury, he or she may be considered negligent. Cruise ship employers can also be held liable when an employee’s negligence contributes to a work injury.
Common examples of negligence that could contribute to cruise ship work accidents and injuries include:
- Failure to address slip and fall hazards in a timely manner (such as a liquid spill)
- Captain negligence contributed to a vessel disaster, such as a collision or grounding
- Fire safety violations causing a fire on board
- Inadequate security personnel allowing an assault to occur
- Failure to provide staff with adequate safety gear
Negligence in cruise ship work injury claims is highly specific depending on the circumstances behind your injury. These are just a few examples of the most common forms, but any injury which occurred due to a foreseeable danger generally qualifies for a Jones Act claim under negligence.
Will I Need A Lawyer?
While you’re free to seek financial compensation on your own, most injured cruise ship workers require the assistance of a maritime work injury lawyer. This system is much more complex than a standard workers’ compensation claim, and different workers may be eligible for financial compensation under different maritime laws.
Additionally, cruise ship lines are powerful companies that have skilled lawyers who specialize in avoiding liability. In order to get through this complex legal process, it’s often necessary to have your own legal counsel who has the experience and knowledge necessary to take on these powerful entities.
To find out more about your options after being injured while working on a cruise ship, contact us today and schedule a free consultation with an experienced maritime work injury lawyer.