Maritime law covers a wide range of issues involving vessels, including how seamen injured on a vessel can receive compensation for their injuries. This area of law is very specialized and can be confusing to many.

Unlike land-based workers, seamen can’t seek compensation for their injuries under state and federal worker’s compensation law. Instead, they must seek compensation through maritime law or the Jones Act. Many compensation suits under maritime law involve “unseaworthiness,” which is defined broadly.

In the context of the maritime law, unseaworthiness doesn’t mean that the vessel cannot sail or be navigated. Instead, unseaworthiness refers to the safety of the work environment for seamen. The act lays out pretty strict requirements for vessels, and injured workers can prevail in an unseaworthiness claim against shipowners if they can prove that some condition or aspect of the vessel, its equipment, or its crew was not reasonably fit for its intended purpose and that this unfitness caused their injuries.

Jones Act Cover Seamens Injury Claims

Injured workers may also prevail in negligence claims under the Jones Act. The Jones Act was passed in 1920 and regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. It also defines some of the rights seamen have to seek compensation from their employers.

The act has very strict requirements for safe working conditions and, if employers don’t meet these requirements, seamen can prevail in suits against their employers. Even if negligence is found to play only a very small factor in the injury, a successful claim can be made against an employer.

Maritime law is very complicated, and seamen pursuing claims under the Jones Act and other relevant laws need a maritime attorney who understands all of the ins and outs of this field of law.

Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers. is a well-established Houston maritime injury law firm that pursues cases on behalf of seamen injured in the course of their work. Since 1964, the firm has fought big companies on behalf of its clients, helping them obtain the compensation that they and their families deserve. If you’ve been injured working on a vessel, contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers today to learn more about your options.