If you’re an American who works on the water, you may have heard of the Jones Act in passing already. This statute provides employees with protection in the event of an accident when you aren’t on land, superseding international waters laws that disallow you from claiming worker’s compensation benefits when on the water.
The Jones Act revolutionized the sailing and entertainment industries for everyone from the Navy to cruise ship ushers from the moment of its inception in 1920. Despite its lengthy history in the American working world, many seamen still make mistakes when processing a case under the Jones Act. Here’s how you can prevent this from happening to you.
Misunderstanding the “Contributing to the Work of the Vessel” Clause
The Jones Act specifies that a party may only sue for compensation under the act if he or she directly contributes to the work of the vessel. This description, however, is extremely generalized, and that can lead to confusion.
For the purposes of the act, “contributing” means not only the daily tasks needed to run the vessel, but also any other employable position within it – including waiters, ushers, research professionals, and other management officials. What isn’t covered are positions that require employees to be on the ship for a transient or temporary position: i.e., one or two days.
Misunderstanding Compensation Allowances
Many people who sue under the Jones Act also fail to correctly interpret the act as it applies to available compensation. It is important to note that you can sue for not only current loss of wages but any potential loss long into the future. Furthermore, you may be entitled to money for pain and suffering, punitive damages, and even the loss of a potential promotion.
If you’re considering seeking compensation for an injury under the Jones Act, one of the best steps you can take is to contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers. Here, you’ll find helpful information and access to maritime accident attorneys that know the act inside and out. Our top-notch attorneys can evaluate your evidence to ensure that you receive everything you are entitled to, whether for medical bills or long-term disability after an accident.