If you’ve been injured while working on a ship, you may be unsure of what to do next:

  • Am I covered under the Jones Act?
  • Will my medical expenses be paid for?
  • Can I receive payments for lost wages?
  • Can vessel owners be held liable for unsafe vessels?
  • Can I hold my employer liable for causing my injury?
  • When should I talk to a lawyer?

An experienced maritime injury lawyer can help you explore your options.

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We can help guide you through the claims process and help you secure the full financial compensation you’re entitled to.

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Ship crew members, captains, and other workers aboard ships face many occupational hazards while at sea. Because of the inherently dangerous nature of this type of work, many injured seamen and ship workers find themselves in need of financial assistance while out of work with a serious injury. When one of these workers suffers an on-board injury, there are a few possible routes to financial compensation.

Unlike injuries in most other industries, ship workers often have the option to hold their employers and ship owners liable for negligence. If a seaman suffers a work injury because of the negligence of a co-worker, employer, or ship owner, he or she may hold the negligent party liable for damages under the Jones Act. In order to file a claim, you must prove that someone else’s negligence contributed to your injury in some way – the burden of proof is lower than in personal injury claims.

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Which Workers Are Covered By The Jones Act?

Any maritime worker who spends at least 30% of their work hours aboard a water vessel in navigation legally qualifies as a “seaman” under the Jones Act. A vessel is considered in navigation if it meets the following four requirements:

  • It’s afloat on water
  • In operation
  • Capable of movement
  • On navigable waters

The vessel does not have to be moving or at sea. Workers on vessels that are docked on the water are covered under the Act. However, if the vessel is on dry land, injured employees would likely be covered under the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), instead.

Occupational Hazards

Ship workers are regularly exposed to a wide range of occupational risks which could cause an accident and serious injuries. These workers frequently must deal with inclement weather, slippery conditions on deck, and sometimes defective or poorly maintained machinery.

Some common hazards which affect ship workers include:

  • Slip, trip, and fall dangers
  • Fires and explosions
  • Toxic and chemical exposure
  • Mistakes by the captain leading to accidents

The majority of ship crew work injuries could be prevented if everyone on board is properly trained in safety procedures.

Common Examples Of Offshore Employer Negligencecargo ship at loading dock

When a ship worker suffers a serious injury, the consequences can be devastating. Serious injuries often require extensive medical treatment, time away from work, and other struggles outside of work. While at sea, injured crew members may also have to wait long periods of time before they get the care they need.

Because these injuries are so serious, it’s important for injured workers to hold their employers or shipowners accountable when the injury could have been prevented in a safer work environment. Some common ways employers act negligently and fail to keep their vessels safe include:

  • Defective or poorly maintained equipment
  • Insufficient safety equipment
  • Insufficient food supplies
  • Lack of properly trained staff members
  • Unsafe living conditions
  • Poorly stowed cargo

Injured ship crew members who spend at least 30% of their work hours on a Jones Act vessel should speak with a maritime work injury lawyer about their options for financial compensation as soon as possible. This is often the only recourse injured workers have for getting the financial support they need after a serious offshore work injury.

Legal Counsel For Jones Act Injury Claims

Though all eligible Jones Act seamen have the right to file a claim after an offshore injury, that doesn’t mean filing a successful claim is easy. You’ll need to provide ample evidence which supports your claim that a dangerous condition existed on the ship at the time of your accident. If you’d like to learn more about your legal options, we can help answer your questions in a free and confidential consultation.

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