Like any ordinary onshore worker, seaman are also at risk of serious injury during the course of their work. The only difference between onshore employees and seaman is the location of their work. However, there should not be any additional difference in the amount each worker is eligible to receive after a work-related injury. Seaman are also employed and are at risk of serious accidents and injuries, potentially even more so than the typical office-worker. However, state law often does not extend to some of the waterways where seaman may work. Therefore, federal Acts often provide relief for seaman. If you or a loved one have been injured during the course of employment as a seaman, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.
Injuries at sea are caused by many factors, many of them stemming from the negligence of an employer in properly ensuring the safety of the vessel or in the failure to properly train members of the crew. Prior to 1920, seaman were left without options to recover fees for their injuries. However, the Jones Act changed all of this and provided an avenue for seaman to seek out the compensation they are entitled to receive after an injury at sea. The Jones Act led to a flurry of activity to cover numerous types of employees who work on the high seas.
Who Qualifies as a Seaman?
After the Jones Act was enacted in 1920, the Supreme Court developed a definition for who qualifies as a “seaman” within the Act. An employee must meet the following test to be considered a seaman under the Jones Act:
- The individual must be assigned to work on a vessel which operates on a navigable waterway;
- The individual’s duties must contribute to the vessel’s function; and
- The individual must spend 30% or more of their time on the vessel.
The Jones Act
A seaman must be able to prove that the employer was directly responsible for the resulting injury in order to fall within the Jones Act, otherwise the injury may fall within another similar federal Act. An injured seaman will be able to recover compensation for their injuries received will at sea, in amounts which will take into consideration the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
An experienced maritime attorney will be able to assist you in understanding whether the facts of your case fall within the strict guidelines of the Jones Act and will further be able to assist you in calculating the amount of your claim.
The Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Law Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured during the course of your employment on the navigable waterways, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Tony Malley is an experienced maritime attorney who will be able to assist you in calculating your claim and determining the best road to recovery. Contact our Texas offices today for your initial free consultation.