If you a worker who was involved in an offshore platform, jack-up rig, ship, barge, fishing boat or other type of vessel accident, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries from your employer. The Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. 688, is a law enacted by Congress that protects members of the crew of a ship or vessel.
Under the Jones Act, marine employers can be held liable for the work-related injury or death of an employee. Claims under the Jones Act are federal causes of action which means that Congress intended for all seamen’s injuries across the nation to be guided by the same Jones Act liability standards.
Employer Liability for Negligence Under The Jones Act
When a seaman is injured in the course or scope of employment, the Jones Act gives the seaman the right to sue his or her employer for negligence damages. It is very important to understand that proving negligence in a Jones Act claim is very different from proving negligence in an ordinary negligence case.
In an ordinary negligence claim you must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions were the primary cause of your injuries. In a Jones Act suit, the burden of proof is much lower. You only need to prove your employer’s negligence had a role in causing your injuries. This means that even if your employer’s actions only played a very small part in your injuries, your employer can still be held liable in a Jones Act negligence suit.
Duties of Maritime Employers
If you are a seaman under the Jones Act your employer has a duty to exercise ordinary care to provide you with a reasonably safe work environment. When an employer fails to meet this duty, the employer can be held liable when a crew member is injured. For example, an injured seaman can file a negligence suit against an employer for all types of unsafe conditions and practices, including:
- Broken or improperly maintained equipment
- Lack of equipment or safety devices
- Lack of safe or functioning ladders, stairs, steps and handrails
- Spills, debris or other hazardous conditions on deck
- Improperly trained or supervised crew Unsafe work methods
- Negligence of fellow crew members
- Assaults by co-workers
Types of Negligence Damages
If you are able to prove your employer’s negligence played a part in your injuries, you will be able to recover damages similar to those available in a standard negligence suit. These damages include:
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Talk to a Maritime Lawyer
If you have been injured in a maritime accident Willis Law Firm can help. We have over 30 years of experience recovering negligence damages for injured workers. Attorney David P. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is licensed in the both the states of Texas and New York and his firm provides nationwide representation to victims of maritime accidents. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help: 1-800-468-4878.