Understanding the Jones Act and Worker Injuries
Through a federal law called the Jones Act, maritime workers injured on the job have the legal right to sue their employers for damages related to medical bills, lost wages and other costs stemming from their injuries. This law is necessary because maritime workers are not covered through workers’ compensation insurance like most other occupations in the United States.
To receive compensation from an employer, maritime workers need to prove that the owner, captain or crew members of a vessel acted negligently — and that the negligence in question resulted in the worker’s injuries. According to the Jones Act, maritime employers must provide workers with reasonably safe work conditions and take reasonable care to maintain the vessel on which the workers are performing their job duties. Failure to do these two things may be considered negligence.
Common causes of maritime accidents
In many situations, maritime worker injuries occur due to dangerous conditions, such as slippery surfaces, broken equipment, lack of safety devices and inadequate protections against falls. Improper training and workplace violence are other common problems in this industry.
It’s also worth noting that the burden of proof in a Jones Act claim is lower than what one might encounter in any other personal injury case. The law only requires that injured workers demonstrate that the employer’s negligence “proximately caused” the injuries. In other words, the employer’s negligence must have been the primary cause of the accident — but not necessarily the only cause.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job and may be eligible for a claim under the Jones Act, speak with a knowledgeable Atlanta personal injury lawyer at McMenamy Law LLC.